Here are three facts about Facebook that are related:
- It received $2.24 billion in funding while still private.
- The investors eventually want a big payday given all the hype and expectations.
- Facebook stock is still down close to a third from its IPO price in May 2012.
Those three facts drive much of the company's focus. Revenue must justify all the attention and investment controls everything the company does, and that translates into virtually every decision that Mark Zuckerberg and his management team make, whether charging for the right to send messages to anyone or enraging users by modifying the site's interface to generate ever more advertising dollars.
Zuckerberg revealed what appears to be the latest approach to the revenue question Thursday at a press conference: the rumored Facebook phone, called Facebook Home, which will integrate the social network into the home screen, making it the place to go for "your messages, photos, recent stories." An icon of your face lets you swipe up and reveal apps, with real-time Facebook message alerts popping up over everything else. Yes, this is the phone that Zuckerberg categorically said his company was not involved in developing and had no interest in pursuing. Although, to be fair, Facebook isn't developing the hardware; this will be "a family of apps" highly integrated with the software of Android phones. Facebook Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12. HTC and AT&T are working on a device that will come pre-loaded with Facebook Home.