Under the cell phone industry's peculiar pricing system, downloading data to your smartphone is amazingly cheap—unless the data in question happens to be a text message. In that case the price of a download jumps roughly 50,000-fold, from just a few pennies per megabyte of data to a whopping $1000 or so per megabyte.
In that giant pricing gap, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg spies opportunity.
Yesterday Facebook acquired Beluga, a nine-month old company that built a better and cheaper way to send text messages. Download the Beluga app to your smartphone and suddenly you can send texts to groups of people with one click, along with other handy tricks old-fashioned text messaging software can't handle. The cost of sending texts with this improved app: zero.
That should scare AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and their smaller competitors, wrote Bernstein & Co. analyst Craig Moffett in an email analyzing the deal: "Facebook is, at its core, a communications company. The move to acquire Beluga makes this explicit. Beluga puts Facebook squarely into competition with [wireless] carriers for the first time." More
A curated selection of the day's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you everyday.The Telegraph reports that Steve Jobs was reportedly blocked from knighthood because the Apple CEO refused an invitation to speak at the Labour Party conference. (Other notable honorary knights include Bill Gates and Apple collaborate-U2 frontman Bono.) The info comes from a former senior Labour Party MORE JP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 2, 2011 5:00 AM ET
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