Amid a big quarter of deals and potential distraction, Facebook is showing that its core business -- advertising -- is still very much on track.
The social network's blockbuster acquisitions of WhatsApp for $19 billion and Oculus VR for $2 billion in February and March, taken together with its purchase of Instagram two years ago, make it evident that Facebook wants to be the Procter & Gamble of social.
The company is also investing in standalone products, like Messenger and Paper, in preparation for a future when social-networking habits have shifted and people check their Facebook feeds less. But what's funding those ambitious bets is the social network's ad business, which continues to grow robustly and become ever more mobile in tandem with how Facebook users access the service.
Facebook reported revenue of $2.5 billion for the first quarter of 2014, up 72% over the previous year. Net income was $642 million, up from $219 million last year. Ad revenue grew 82% year over year, reaching $2.27 billion, with the balance coming from payments and fees.
Mobile has become the dominant medium in Facebook's ad business. It accounted for 59% of ad revenue, up from 30% a year earlier and from 53% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out Facebook's strategy of developing a suite of apps -- of which core Facebook is to be one of many. "The Facebook app by itself is the furthest along, more than a billion people use it," he said. "It's at the core of our business."
As for Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, the emphasis for the near term will be on growth, not monetization, Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Then there are the suite of apps that Facebook Creative Labs is developing, of which the news reader, Paper, is the first.