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Facebook Home not likely to appear on iPhone or Windows Phone anytime soon

Facebook Home not likely to appear on iPhone or Windows Phone anytime soon

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A report out of Bloomberg earlier today claimed that Facebook was talking to Apple about bringing Facebook Home to the iPhone. Some variation of "talks" between Facebook and Apple were actually mentioned already, by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the launch of the new software on Android. However the context of those talks, as Zuckerberg mentioned them, were more about the "great relationship" Facebook has with Apple on a more general level. Although there seems to be plenty of interest surrounding the idea of Facebook taking over the iPhone's home screen and popping Chat Head notifications over the rest of the OS, it's simply not likely anytime soon.

During the announcement of Home, Zuckerberg repeatedly praised Android's open structure, saying it was what made something like Facebook Home possible in the first place. With iOS, it's not so easy, and Zuckerberg noted that "Ultimately anything that happens with Apple will be in partnership with them." On iOS, getting something like Facebook Home or Chat Heads working would require a deeper level of access than the standard APIs provide. Getting Facebook Home to work on iOS would require not just Apple's consent, but its active cooperation in making the iPhone more open to companies like Facebook — cooperation that Apple certainly doesn't seem to have much incentive to provide.

"Ultimately anything that happens with Apple will be in partnership with them."

Nevertheless, interest was apparently high enough that comments from Facebook's director of Product Adam Mosseri to Bloomberg West spurred some chatter that Facebook was in "talks" that went beyond the relationship that Facebook and Apple already have. Mosseri speculated about how Facebook might work within (or try to expand) the constraints any app developer faces on iOS. "We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app," Mosseri said, "Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it’s not called Home, it’s called something else."

It's incredibly unlikely that Apple would ever cede so much control of its platform to another company, and it's just as unlikely that Facebook has any illusions about that. To wit, The Next Web published a brief note later with a source saying "no discussions have taken place to bring Home to those platforms."

The second platform in that phrasing is Microsoft's Windows Phone, which was also mentioned in Bloomberg's report. Although Facebook enjoys deeper integration with Windows Phone than iOS, it still would face similar development roadblocks for the kind of full-phone takeover that Facebook Home represents. The way that Facebook positioned Home as a "people, not apps" kind of platform also probably doesn't help its chances on Windows Phone. That hewed a little too closely to Microsoft's own marketing for Windows Phone, prompting the company to put up a blog post calling Facebook's message "remarkably similar" to what Microsoft achieved two years ago with Windows Phone 7.

So while Facebook might be talking to both Apple and Microsoft, it doesn't seem like it's about a full-fledged Facebook Home app on either platform. Even if Facebook was talking, it seems very unlikely that Apple and Microsoft are listening. "We’ve shown them what we’ve built and we’re just in an ongoing conversation," Mosseri said. Unless both companies were to radically change course and open up their operating systems for Facebook, it would be a one-sided conversation.