Why Facebook Bought Parse - InformationWeek

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4/26/2013
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Why Facebook Bought Parse

Development platform gives Facebook new mobile cred.

Facebook Home Invasion
Facebook Home Invasion
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With its acquisition of Parse, Facebook has gone a long way toward filling its mobile-shaped hole.

"Today we're making it even easier to build mobile apps with Facebook Platform by announcing that we have entered into an agreement to acquire Parse, a cloud-based platform that provides scalable cross-platform services and tools for developers," wrote Douglas Purdy, Facebook's director of product management, on the Facebook Developer Blog.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the deal was for $85 million in a stock and cash transaction. The deal comes shortly after another big mobile move for Facebook -- the rollout of the Facebook Home app for Android-based mobile devices.

[ Social sites can be filled with potholes and landmines. Read 5 Social Blunders Job Hunters Must Avoid. ]

Parse doesn't provide a mobile operating system per se, but it does give Facebook developers a framework that will let them more tightly integrate their apps with the Facebook platform. It will also let them create an app that works the same on other mobile platforms as it does on Facebook.

This opens up new levels of integration -- and monetization -- for Facebook and its business customers.

"By making Parse part of Facebook Platform, we want to enable developers to rapidly build apps that span mobile platforms and devices," wrote Purdy. "Parse makes this possible by allowing developers to work with native objects that provide backend services for data storage, notifications, user management, and more. This removes the need to manage servers and a complex infrastructure, so you can simply focus on building great user experiences."

For its part, Parse was reportedly being wooed by many suitors. It chose Facebook, according to Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar, because the two companies and their missions are a good fit.

"Combining forces with a partner like Facebook makes a lot of sense," wrote Sukhar in a blog post. "In a short amount of time, we've built up a core technology and a great community of developers. Bringing that to Facebook allows us to work with their incredible talent and resources to build the ideal platform for developers."

In his blog Sukhar also answered some questions that users of the popular Parse platform might have: "Will my Parse app be affected in any way? No. Will Parse apps have to use Facebook functionality? No. Will Parse honor my contract? Yes, of course."

Does Facebook's acquisition of Parse raise the social network's mobile profile? What more does it have to do to provide a truly valuable mobile experience -- for users and for business customers? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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