Market Overview

IPO is the Peak for Facebook

After that, it's all downhill.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), the company that has been called a dumping ground for venture capitalists -- the same company that would die without Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) -- could be headed for hard times after its initial public offering this spring.

That's according to Trip Chowdhry, the Managing Director of Equity Research at Global Equities Research, who did not hold back in telling Benzinga exactly what he thought of Facebook.

"I think the IPO is the peak of Facebook," said Chowdhry.

It's no secret that Facebook has the world's most successful social networking site. But in comparison to the business models of other tech giants, Chowdhry isn't impressed.

"Compare that with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)," Chowdhry suggested. "Irrespective of what you see and hear, the question is: Facebook versus Google -- do you own the key ingredients to make your platform successful? In the case of Google, the answer is yes. Why? Do they own the e-mail platform? Yes, Gmail. Do they own the video conferencing platform? Yes. What is that? Hangouts. Do they own a search platform? Yes."

"So when you think about that," Chowdhry continued, "one is a consolidated offering [that's] fully integrated, which is Google, versus Facebook's model, which is all based on partnerships."

Chowdhry noted that every partnership has pros and cons. "The pros are you don't invest in R&D, and you have a checkmark saying you have this, you have this, [and] this. So you are a player."

But there is a difference between being a player and leading a particular industry, Chowdhry explained.

"You can't lead the industry based on partnerships," Chowdhry insisted. "You lead the industry by creating in-house innovations like Google does."

With regard to the rumors that Microsoft would buy Facebook or that Facebook may attempt to acquire Bing from the Windows maker, Chowdhry said that regardless of what people may think, search is the most important element.

"Either you search for people or you search for your friends or you search for answers to your questions," said Chowdhry. "Search is not going away. As a matter of fact, the more information you have, the more searches you do."

"Is MS going to sell off Bing?" Chowdhry asked. "The answer is no. Can Facebook buy Bing? The answer is no -- they don't have enough money. [And] remember, since Microsoft doesn't own Facebook and Facebook doesn't own Microsoft, the agendas and priorities of [these two companies] will be different. It's already very difficult to get things done within one company. You think it's easier to do it across companies? No."

Chowdhry said that while he doesn't think that Facebook is going to disappear, the company's business model is based on partnerships "because they lack the skills in certain areas, which are necessary to have a strong offering down the road, long-term."

That said, Chowdhry believes that Microsoft's partnership with Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) "has proven to be a disaster." As a result, he thinks it's important for the Windows maker to have a strong partnership with Facebook.

"One of the reasons why [former Yahoo! CEO] Carol Bartz was fired was because the [partnership she formed with Microsoft] failed to deliver on the initial commitment," said Chowdhry. "So the world is seeing, investors are seeing, and partners are seeing that Microsoft couldn't deliver on the commitment it made to Yahoo!"

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: Facebook Global Equities Research Trip ChowdhryAnalyst Color Analyst Ratings Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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