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CTIA: Facebook Gets Blackberried

Facebook Inc. is beefing up its role for business users. Dustin Moskovitz announced during his keynote at CTIA today that a mobile version of the popular social networking platform will natively be available on BlackBerry smartphone devices. T-Mobile USA Inc. will be the first carrier to bundle the Facebook Mobile app for its subscribers, but any user can download the software a crucial point for open-access.

Four-year-old Facebook has grown to 49 million active online users, and 4 million mobile users, with an increasing percentage of those users turning to the community for business networking. Moskovitz, who invited up Mike Lazaridis, founder of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., to share the announcement, stressed that social networking has benefits for all kinds of people, from young to old and consumer to business user. In fact, business users may be more likely to use a mobile version of the service. According to ABI Research, business users spend much more time using data/multimedia services at significantly higher rates than personal users and spend 80 percent more on mobile data services than personal users.

Blackberry users can upload pictures to Facebook pages, create mobile profiles, receive alerts and messages via BlackBerrys push e-mail back-end, invite friends to join Facebook, view friendsstatus, and read and compose messages while offline.

Other social networking/user-generated content sites have relationships with various operators, such as MySpace with Helio LLC and YouTube with Verizon Wireless, but this marks one of the first carrier-agnostic deals. Fittingly, Moskovitz and Lazaridis spent much time exhorting the audience and the industry as a whole to open up their platforms and walled gardens, to spur innovation and change the current paradigm. Moskovitz also invited developers currently writing to the PC-based Facebook platform to tackle the mobile version as well.

Mobile is the next frontier,” Moskovitz said.

Facebook Inc. www.facebook.com
Research in Motion Ltd. www.rim.net
T-Mobile USA Inc. www.t-mobile.com


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