Feature Article

April 17, 2013

Facebook Lands Former Apple Exec Richard Williamson to Further Mobile Initiatives

Facebook is a mobile company, and we're rapidly seeing how the increased focus on mobility at Facebook is changing the tenor of the company in terms of its actions and its hiring. To that end, Facebook brought in something of an unlikely new face, reportedly hiring Richard Williamson, not only part of Apple's original iPhone team, but also the man who spearheaded Apple Maps.

Williamson reportedly only joined Facebook within the last couple of weeks, according to reports from sources who requested anonymity. Williamson's role within Facebook, meanwhile, is said to be managing part of the mobile software group, which is rapidly expanding to suit Facebook's new status as a mobile company.

Williamson had been with Apple for over a decade, and had not only been in charge of building software for the iPhone, but also was in charge of replacing Google Maps with Apple's own map program for iPhone and iPad. Back in November, Williamson was let go as Apple's management shook up the team when the Apple Maps project proved to be less than effective. Many criticized the Apple Maps project for offering less than accurate directions and improperly located landmarks.

But Williamson isn't the only Apple alumn making his way to Facebook, as several of Apple's iPhone software people have made the move to Facebook in recent days, including names like Greg Novick, Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris. Novick had been involved in the development of the iPhone's touch interface, while Matas and Tsinteris were brought in following Facebook's acquisition of Push Pop Press. Reports indicate that Apple veterans had a big hand in developing Facebook's Home mobile product, and the secondhand Apple influence doesn't stop there, as Facebook also recently hired Rebecca Van Dyck, formerly of Apple, to serve as its head of consumer marketing.

Facebook's push into the mobile space is common knowledge and is showing up in a variety of ways. With Facebook somewhat on the decline among teenagers -- a terrible development for a social media company -- bringing in what is at least somewhat a new audience in the mobile field is a good way to help shore up its numbers. Keeping the numbers up retains appeal for advertisers, and in turn, allows Facebook to continue functioning.

The more advantages Facebook can put into play, the better the overall picture is for Facebook as a whole. With more social media options opening up, Facebook needs to keep itself sharp and vital to retain its current status and rebuild on some of its recent losses.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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