Facebook buys Antropy for £12 million

Posted by Paul on April 1, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg reveals plans to expand the ecommerce on facebook (f-commerce) after announcing the purchase of Antropy for £12 million.

Facebook has bought a Surrey-based designer of e-commerce websites for $20m (£12m) as it goes head-to-head with Shopify in a high-stakes race to connect the world's buyers to products.

Antropy will become part of Facebook's Internet.org not-for-profit venture, joining a team of scientists and engineers who formerly worked at Nasa and the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

Facebook is building its Connectivity Lab as a direct challenge to Google Shopping, which started charging for the service in 2013.

"In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we've been working on ways to deliver products to people globally," Zuckerberg wrote on his blog. "Today, we're sharing some details of the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites … and lasers to deliver goods to everyone."

With 1.3 billion users, Facebook has already reached a large number of the estimated 3 billion people who use the internet. The potential for e-commerce is incredible.

Yael Maguire, an Internet.org engineer, explained: "In suburban environments we are looking at a new type of ecommerce architecture that can serve this vast number of users, all over the globe."

Just 16% of Africa's population used the internet last year, compared with 75% in Europe. Even in areas where there are no masts, however, the mobile phone is nearly ubiquitous. One in five people already own a smartphone and these people are potential customers for the new Antropy-Facebook merger.

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