Is Facebook Making ‘The Netflix Mistake’ ?

April 15, 2013 7:04 am

‘The next search engine is just a click away’ was how Eric Schmidt famously proclaimed Google’s strength in web search – the fact that in spite of that most web users continued to use Google, showed that the product was still the one to beat in the market. A stronger argument could be made for Facebook – add the fact that nobody wants to move their network along with them – you logon to Facebook because ‘that is where your friends are’ and it is probably never going to change. Probably.

We had written about the mistake that Netflix made – the lack of a device – read ‘The One Mistake That Might Haunt Netflix Forever’. The world is moving into platforms in decisive ways. Your gaming console is a platform. Your TV is a platform. Your mobile phone is a platform, too. Your e-reader is a platform. Your shoes – they are a platform too. What is the common thread across these platforms?

Hardware. This is what we wrote, on Netflix: ‘As the content distribution game enters the mobile entertainment era, and as a ’5 inch plus’ world thirsty for mobile content gears up to move ‘anytime, anywhere availability’ to the top of its priorities, not getting a device into millions of hands (when it had the opportunity) is a mistake that might haunt Netflix for a long time.’

It might be a mistake that might haunt Facebook as well. Hardware platforms stick. Hardware sticks. Maybe Facebook should just build that 5inchplus device. Because now, it can.

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1 Comment for “Is Facebook Making ‘The Netflix Mistake’ ?”

  1. I am not at all convinced by the author’s logic.
    Take television for example. Yes, television has a platform. But perhaps the biggest mistake that broadcast television networks are making at this moment is that they do not broadcast all of their programming simultaneously on the Internet, ads and all. By becoming less hardware platform dependent, television broadcasters would gain viewers.

    It is not just, as the author says, that “the world is moving into platforms in decisive ways.” The world is moving into certain _types_ of platforms–namely, to _portable, multipurpose_ platforms.

    Remember dedicated telephones from the pre-wireless era? Compare that to the typical smartphone today: the latter goes anywhere, and allows one to check on e-mail, to receive texts, and to look in on one’s social networks. It’s the multiple functionality that matters.

    The point: Dedicated hardware, of the kind that the author is advocating, is on the way out. Netflix is to be commended for _not_ coming up with Netflix hardware. It is much more competitive by making itself available over any computer, including all variety of mobile devices.

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