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Tip of the Hat: Facebook's Oculus buy a smart move

Whether the $2 billion deal to buy a startup proves successful isn't the point; tech companies must make bold moves to get 'the next big thing'
  • Mike Bucken (Computerworld (US))
  • 01 April, 2014 05:04

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a lot of criticism last week when his company agreed to pay $2 billion for a startup still building its first product, the Rift virtual reality headset.

The company was started with crowdsourcing funds raised using the Kickstarter platform. Nearly 10,000 backers threw in a few hundred dollars for access to the company's development kits. The venture capitalists who followed the crowdsourcers invested more than $100 million.

Some critics have pounced on what they call the unfairness of the huge return gained by the venture capital investors, compared to the crowdsourcers' development kits. Others say the market for VR headsets is limited, and will never be as large as Facebook needs for an adequate return on its investment.

Computerworld offers a Tip of the Hat to MarketWatch's Jeff Reeves for his conclusion that tech companies must take chances when searching for the "next big thing." Moving beyond the first one or two or three successful products has proved too much for many once high-flying tech firms through the years.

As Reeves notes in the story, Why Facebook was smart to buy Oculus, "tech companies stay on top by making bold moves that look far down the road rather than focusing on the short term."

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.