The Facebook app is installed on millions of Android smartphones. It, therefore, seems logical to make your own telephone, but so far that has not happened. A new report shows how the unrest within the company has caused this.
Why Facebook didn’t make an Android smartphone
Thanks to all the privacy scandals, Facebook’s image is nowhere near fresh, but the situation looked much brighter in 2013. The company of Mark Zuckerberg then released a modified version of Android in collaboration with HTC Home. Many thought that Facebook would soon release a full smartphone, but things went differently.
A report from CNBC tries to find out why the social medium has never succeeded in releasing hardware. Central to the story is ‘Building 8’, the building where Facebook secretly worked on new devices. After this division started in 2015, the plug was pulled out at the end of 2018.
The American news channel spoke with various stakeholders and argues that internal drama has ensured that all attempts by Facebook to make hardware products failed in the end. Employees of Building 8 would have received preferential treatment from senior management. The ‘secret department’, for example, received much more budget than usual.
Building 8 employees also stopped working. When they invited other staff to look at a prototype of a new product, such as a device for reading thoughts, they were picked up with an escort. The researchers came to be known within the company as hatchlings.
In addition, it was uneasy within the secret department. For example, top executive Regina Dugan, a former Google employee, left the division after 18 months. According to employees, her successor, Andrew Bosworth, had too little charisma and no clear vision for the future. “The division was out of control,” said an anonymous former employee.
As icing on the cake, Facebook came under fire in early 2018 because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, for which it eventually received a record fine. The division released its first product last November, but Building 8 itself was demolished at the end of 2018. The former employees have been transferred to other departments where they are probably working on a successor to the Portal, a speaker with a screen.