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Facebook Ad Signals A Move To Boost Consumer Hardware Presence

Facebook placed an ad looking for a GTM retail program manager as all signs point to the social media site establishing a stronger retail presence in consumer hardware. According to CNBC, Facebook’s mysterious Building 8 division is looking for someone who “will have the responsibility of creating disruptive ground up shopping experiences of Facebook consumer hardware.”

The ad leads many to believe that the company is looking to take on established hardware competitors like Apple and Alphabet. Currently, the only significant consumer hardware product Facebook has is the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that it acquired for $2 billion in 2014.

Even with the addition of a retail program manager, Facebook may not necessarily be looking into setting up its own stores. Instead, it might just be looking to enhance experiences of its retail associates such as Best Buy, which carries the Oculus Rift.

This isn’t the first move the company has made to boost its consumer hardware profile. In 2016, Facebook spent $6 billion on R&D alone and is expected to spend more in the future, according to Nasdaq. It is also believed that the company will unveil four consumer hardware products at this year’s F8 Developer Conference, including drones, brain scanning technology, augmented reality and next-gen cameras.

Last year at F8, the company announced Building 8, a DARPA-style research facility, led by Regina Dugan, a former Alphabet executive. It also unveiled Area 404, a 22,000 square-foot sprawling hardware research lab at the Menlo Park headquarters to boost “modeling, prototyping and failure analysis in-house,” as well as acquired startup Nascent Objects to increase its hardware efforts.

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