For Investors, the Key Questions About Facebook’s Business Right Now

First WhatsApp. Then Oculus. Now a distinct Facebook messaging app. Will a more federated structure be good for Facebook’s business?

Apr 23, 2014 at 3:30PM
Facebook News Feed Laptop

Credit: Facebook.

Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) business isn't what it used to be. Rather than a tightly integrated social network that hoped to engage you for hours each day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is assembling a federation of loosely coupled technologies that could impact how we interact with each other and the world around us. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.

Earlier this month, TechCrunch reported that Facebook's business plan is to require smartphone users to install a separate messaging app for chatting with friends. The thinking, apparently, is that having a distinct app will improve messaging performance.

We'll need months of data to know whether that's true. In the meantime, the shift comes amid several acquisitions that will remain at arms length from Facebook's core business. WhatsApp is to remain a separate but related service. Oculus VR is expected to receive similar treatment. We now have legitimate cause to refer to Facebook's business structure as a conglomerate.

Where does that leave investors? Searching for answers, Tim says. Zuckerberg has to use the upcoming earnings call to clarify his strategy for extracting value from Facebook's federated collection of properties. He needs to explain how users and shareholders will benefit over the long term. And finally, how to know when (or if) the strategy is taking hold.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect from Facebook's business now that Zuck and his team are asking users to commit to a loose collection of apps and technologies rather than a single platform? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Facebook stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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