Although pure speculation, The Wall Street Journal reports that BlackBerry executives "flew to California to meet with Facebook" in order to determine if the social media giant was interested "in a potential bid for the struggling smartphone-maker."
The meeting could reignite speculation that Facebook is building its own smartphone. As the social network has increasingly catered to mobile users in recent years, with nearly half of its sales generated from ads shown on wireless devices, it has also grown dependent on hardware makers such as Apple Inc. (AAPL -2.49%) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE +0.60%) to distribute its software and collect user data.
Buying BlackBerry would let Facebook cut out these partners and sell a line of its own phones directly to its most rabid users. But Facebook would have to resurrect a damaged brand that has largely failed in the marketplace this year. BlackBerry recently said it would stop marketing its latest line of phones to consumers after they proved unpopular, instead focusing on business and government customers.
The social network could attempt to build its own phone using BlackBerry's assets and patents, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly denied wanting to build his own phone, calling this the "wrong strategy." As an alternative, the company has pursued deeper partnerships with manufacturers on mobile software called Facebook Home.
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