A friend of mine asked me what I thought of the Facebook $2 billion dollar buyout of Oculus Rift. This is what I wrote.
I thought Facebook was a 4-6 billion dollar company. Right before they went public, they gave a billion to Instagram. Then another 16+ billion to WhatsApp. Now two billion to Oculus. If you had $50, and you gave $40 away, you would be in a pretty weak position. Literally, based on raw numbers, it seems like Oculus could turn around and buy Facebook right now. It doesn’t make ANY sense at all.
- This MUST be shaking the confidence in Facebook stockholders. Zuck is still spending money however he sees fit, he has no vague idea how to monetize Facebook effectively and shareholders are only going to see their company having less and less value.
- Kickstarter backers should be furious. Even though Kickstarter doesn’t make you part owner of a company, I think that may be about to change. Sites like Kiva.org for Micro lending are going to take the place of sites like Kickstarter – where you either give someone a loan that will be paid back, or you become a shareholder in the company or product. It is insulting to give you money to get you this far, and then you don’t just go out and find a new investor, you let someone else BUY OUT your company. Why did I bother giving you money in the first place?
- Facebook COULD “leave it alone” in the beginning. Much like Microsoft has let Skype be their own thing for several years, and only recently started implementing it as their primary messenger platform. Skype still has most of its autonomy, now it just integrates with Microsoft’s platform better than before. Facebook could potentially allow Oculus to continue what they are doing, and then tackle his own ideas later.
- I, for one, haven’t been all that excited about Oculus Rift. Don’t care for it. It’s still this large clunky thing you have to strap to your head. It’s cool, but not cool ENOUGH, yet. So I’m not broken hearted over this deal. But given the growing dislike of Facebook among people in the tech community (reluctantly still members because “you have to be”), I can see many more developers than Mojang walking away. Perhaps flocking to Razer’s unofficially-unannounced VR platform.