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6/14/2012
12:07 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Samsung Leaves Facebook Alone, Averts Disaster

Samsung denies reports that it is building a social network to compete with Facebook. Apple's Ping experiment shows why this would have been a bad move.

10 Social Acquisitions Signify Bigger Trends
10 Social Acquisitions Signify Bigger Trends
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung took to one of its corporate blogs today to deny reports that it is developing a Facebook-like social network. Reports suggested as much earlier this week, prompting puzzlement at the move.

"There have been inquiries and a few articles claiming that Samsung Electronics is going to offer a Facebook-like service, being developed under a codename called 'Samsung Facebook.' However, this is not true and the rumor is groundless," Samsung said in a Thursday blog post.

The reports arose after Samsung indicated that it would be making changes to its "Family Story" service, which has been around since February. Samsung explained, "This service, like its name, is a family-oriented convergence service that focuses on sharing and storing families' special moments. It is true that we currently are working on upgrading Family Story as we always thrive to provide consumers with enhanced experiences, but this is far from a 'Samsung Facebook' as some are claiming it to be."

[ Will Apple have better luck with Game Center than it did with Ping? Apple's Second Chance At Social. ]

All together now: Let's all thank Samsung for averting what could only have been a major embarrassment.

Hardware makers' forays into social networking have been anything but successful. The best example, of course, is Apple's Ping social network. The network, which is baked into its iTunes desktop software and iOS devices, allows Apple customers to share music, "like" bands, albums, and songs, and share recent music purchases with their followers. The service has gained little traction, and, according to AllThingsD, is going to be nixed in the very near future.

If Apple, the largest seller of music in the world and owner of the most popular tablet and one of the most popular smartphones in the world, can't convince tens of millions of users to engage more with software they are already using, it's a pretty good bet that Samsung won't be able to, either.

Facebook has become ubiquitous, and Twitter is at least on most peoples' radar. With two such strong networks already firmly established, it will only become harder for new entrants to make a dent against them. I'm not saying people shouldn't try, but smartphone makers probably aren't the best ones to start.

New apps promise to inject social features across entire workflows, raising new problems for IT. In the new, all-digital Social Networking issue of InformationWeek, find out how companies are making social networking part of the way their employees work. Also in this issue: How to better manage your video data. (Free with registration.)

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