June 10 - Facebook is serious about mobile messaging, poaching David Marcus from PayPal the same day the social network prematurely released a new mobile messaging app. Fred Katayama reports.
Facebook's latest moves signal it's downright serious about mobile messaging. The social network just poached the head of eBay's PayPal business. David Marcus is joining Facebook to run its messaging products operations. He'll oversee its Messenger service and its free Messenger mobile app. Gartner research director Brian Blau believes Marcus' mission will be to convert Facebook's messaging service into a platform for transactions. He said, "Clearly with a background in e-commerce and payments, it's natural to think that he's going to bring a lot of that to Facebook, presumably around messaging." Marcus, after all, had helped grow PayPal into a revenue machine for eBay that processed $180 billion in payments last year. eBay stock fell at the open while Facebook gained ground. Another sign of its seriousness: Facebook prematurely released its new messaging app, Slingshot. It's very similar to SnapChat, which it had tried to buy. Just like the messages that instantly disappear on Slingshot, the Slingshot app itself soon disappeared as Facebook quickly pulled it but not before TechCrunch snapped these shots. All this comes on the heels of Facebook's eye-popping $19 billion purchase of the mobile messaging service, WhatsApp. Marcus will not be overseeing that service, at least not for now.