No, Facebook Home won't be coming to the iPhone

A Facebook executive tells Bloomberg that the talks are ongoing and nothing is finalized. But it's unlikely that Apple would embrace Home.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
3 min read
Facebook Home is on Android, but not iOS. Josh Miller/CNET

Don't hold your breath for Facebook Home to make an appearance on the iPhone.

A Facebook executive told Bloomberg on Monday that the social networking giant is in talks to bring its newly debuted user interface to Apple's iPhone, as well as Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

Earlier today, The Next Web reported that Facebook isn't in talks with Apple or Microsoft about porting over Home, citing unnamed sources familiar with the discussions.

Facebook Home is the social networking giant's way of increasing its presence in the mobile world without actually building a smartphone or mobile operating system. Home acts as a user interface that sits on top of Android and works through a collection of apps that are stitched together to create a unified experience on the phone.

Facebook Home dominates the home screen and lock screen, replacing the usual home screen and apps with its CoverFeed slideshow of photos from your Facebook page. It's a nifty experience -- if you're really into Facebook and staying connected with your friends.

But it's also the kind of experience that Apple would never allow on its iPhone. For a company that so tightly controls its operating system, it's unlikely that it would agree to anything that would take away from that.

Apple would never willingly give up control of its home screen. Google, for that matter, probably wouldn't want to either, but is forced to go along with it since Android is an open platform.

Facebook Home was made available to download for select Android phones on Friday. The HTC First, which has Home preloaded on to the phone, also launched exclusively at AT&T the same day.

Because of Android's open nature, Facebook didn't have to work with Google. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said as much during its launch event earlier this month. But Facebook would have to work directly with Apple to get Home on its phone, a prospect that doesn't seem to likely.

CNET contacted Apple for comment, and we'll update the story when the company responds.

Mosseri, in the Bloomberg interview, conceded that Home might look different on iOS, or just incorporate certain design cues. It may not even be called Home, he added.

Indeed, Facebook could just have a massively upgraded app, or it could incorporate CoverFeed into the app.

Likewise, Microsoft probably isn't going to be too receptive to Facebook Home, and has already mocked its people-first drive as something Windows Phone has already done -- and done "for real."

Microsoft also exercises strong control over how apps can run on the operating system, insisting that they work with the live tiles scheme found on Windows Phone. The company isn't too keen on a collection of apps breaking that user interface, particularly since it ties in so deeply with the Windows 8 experience.

For now, Facebook should focus on Android, where it does have a home, and on improving the experience and features. Even on Android, where it's available on a few major phones, Facebook Home is a tough sell.

Updated on 6:10 a.m. PT: to include a report from The Next Web denying the talks.