Why Has Mark Zuckerberg Teamed up with Samsung and SKT?
Why Has Mark Zuckerberg Teamed up with Samsung and SKT?
  • By Kim In-wook (info@koreaittimes.com)
  • 승인 2016.03.02 15:53
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Image source: Mark Zuckerberg facebook

“Mark Zuckerberg has joined hands with Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom (SKT).”

We’ve recently heard interesting news from Barcelona, Spain. At the MWC (Mobile World Congress), held in Barcelona, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made overtures to leading Korean companies.

At the Samsung Galaxy S7 Unpacked press conference, Mark Zuckerberg walked to the stage, unbeknownst to audience members hooked up with Samsung’s Gear VR, to announce that Samsung’s Gear VR headset uses technology from VR-headset maker Oculus Rift, which Facebook bought in 2014. And he also announced the formation of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) in cooperation with SKT.

The Facebook-led TIP, an engineering-focused initiative supported by SKT, Deutsch Telecom, Nokia, Intel, etc., has been set up to encourage the sharing of key technologies for communications infrastructure and joint research and development through the establishment of hotlines among 30 countries.

A flurry of reports poured in, gushing about Korean companies partnering with the hottest company in the world, Facebook. However, we felt there was something important missing in the reports. They should have focused more on “why.”

Mark Zuckerberg is a strategist. He splurged on taking over Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus. As such, he has made investments in the future, looking at the bigger picture. Mark Zuckerberg has paired up with Korean companies because of the Internet.org initiative.

Mark Zuckerberg has been keen on the Internet.org initiative, Facebook’s project to make free Internet services available in developing countries. Facebook is working on drones, satellites and even lasers to beam down internet access from a plane flying overhead or a satellite flying way overhead -- and they'll communicate down to earth using very accurate lasers to transfer data. Noting that only a third of the world population has access to the Internet, Mark Zuckerberg has decided to help every person in the world have access to the opportunities the Internet provides.

Given what Mark Zuckerberg has done so far, he seems to be nothing but a big-hearted philanthropist. However, Facebook is not a charity but a profit-seeking company. Then, what has prodded the Facebook founder into forging ahead with such an initiative

Mark Zuckerberg (Image source: cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com)

Mark Zuckerberg said: “We’ve announced the formation of the Telecom Infra Project as part of our efforts to connect the whole world via Internet.org. We have forged partnerships with mobile operators around the world in order to develop new technologies that can reduce the cost of building mobile networks in the world.”

Mark Zuckerberg said that the various TIP members would help to pave the way towards the accelerated development of technologies like 5G, the next generation of mobile broadband in which diversified forms of contents such as videos and virtual reality (VR) can be swiftly delivered. He also wrote that the TIP would develop new technologies to enable faster and more efficient communication for humanity.

Judging from what he wrote, Mark Zuckerberg is probably pushing for the Internet.org initiative to connect the whole world through the Internet and help the world enjoy advanced forms of contents like VR.

Market analysts say that Mark Zuckerberg is intent on the Internet.org initiative, something that is unlikely to become profitable in the near future, because he wants to enlarge Facebook’s share of the worldwide ad pie.

By cooperating with mobile operators in the US, the EU and Asia, Facebook can cut the cost of enlarging its share of the ad pie. And its tieup with global electronics giant Samsung will give Facebook a head start over its rivals in the VR sector.

In particular, when it comes to the Gear VR, Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at Samsung’s unpacked event, some say, upstaged the Galaxy S7, drawing more attention to the Gear VR. In other words, Mark Zuckerberg pulled off boasting Oculus’s VR technology to the world.

Some point out that the Internet.org initiative could end up as a failure owing to the lack of hardware, so the emergence of the Gear VR is of great significance. Is it farfetched to imagine that once the whole world has been connected via the Internet, Oculus will roll out innovative VR-based devices equipped with various other technologies in the future so that they could even replace smartphones

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