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Here we go again! Facebook Phone rumors reignite

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg visits Samsung and online speculation fires up

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in South Korea this week to meet with Samsung executives, and sparking speculation -- yet again -- that the social network will build its own smartphone.

Zuckerberg reportedly met with the head of mobile at Samsung, as well as with the company's co-CEO, according to the Business Insider .

The same story reported that Zuckerberg asked Samsung to build an Android phone for the social networking company, but Samsung declined.

Mashable also reported that Zuckerberg met with Samsung executives.

Reports of Facebook building and selling its own Android-based smartphone seems to be one of the Internet's favorite techie rumors.

Zuckerberg, however, has repeatedly denied that the company wants to come out with its own phone. He has said that a phone isn't even in his sights.

"That's always been the wrong strategy for us," Zuckerberg said in 2012. "We'll have 950 million users soon. Let's say we built a phone, theoretically -- we're not -- but we get 10 million people to use it. That doesn't move the needle for us. ... The phone just doesn't make any sense."

That hasn't stopped the repeated speculation, though.

In March, Facebook phone rumors exploded after the company announced an upcoming, and secretive, press event for April 4. That announcement was about the Facebook Home screen.

However, Zuckerberg's meeting with Samsung this week was intriguing to independent industry analyst Jeff Kagan.

"Building a new Facebook smartphone on Samsung would be my first guess," said Kagan. "The idea of a Facebook phone could still work. To make it work, it would have to be with a killer wireless brand like Samsung."

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, however, said the phone rumors are unfounded.

"I think [Zuckerberg] is talking about how to better integrate Facebook into Samsung's experience," he added. "I think he's looking to make the Facebook experience quicker, easier and a lot more straightforward for end users. This is all about Facebook's applications."

Moorhead also noted that if Facebook was looking to make a deal with a phone manufacturer to build a smartphone for them, Zuckerberg probably wouldn't go to the second biggest manufacturer. Being such a huge player in the smartphone market, Samsung would want a much bigger bite of any profits.

If Zuckerberg wanted to have someone build him a phone, he'd be more likely to go to a smaller player like Foxconn, said Moorhead.

This article, Here we go again! Facebook Phone rumors reignite, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.


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