Facebook acquired Oculus VR, Inc, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for $2 billion. This is Facebook’s second big acquisition in 2014 – it recently purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion. With these two acquisitions Facebook is expanding beyond its current social network platform by adding new capabilities and products. According to Facebook, wearable technology is the next big thing.
“The history of our industry is that every 10 or 15 years there’s a new major computing platform, whether it’s the PC, the Web or now mobile,” said Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.
Finding the Next “Big Thing”
Zuckerberg may be on to something given greater attention to wearable tech. Google has been developing Google Glass for the past couple of years and earlier this week Luxottica, maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, announced a strategic partnership with Google – suggesting the Google Glass will become more mainstream. Google also unveiled its new smart watch earlier this week to compete with others like Apple’s rumored iWatch and watches made by Samsung and Sony.
Staying Ahead of Your Customers
While Facebook was late to invest in mobile, it has a chance to profit from the wearable tech trend. Acquisitions allow companies to move quickly into new industries and add new capabilities, products or services. Many would view this as staying ahead of the competition, but I like to think about it as staying ahead of your customers.
In reality you want to anticipate the needs of your customers before they realize them. Your success depends on satisfying the demands of your customers and at times exceeding them. Anticipating big shift towards virtual reality and wearable devices, Facebook acquired Oculus to meet a future need. What would this approach look like for your business? What will your customers want in the future? As you plan your business growth, I challenge you to attempt thinking ahead of your customers.