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Facebook looks to gobble 7 more companies this year

Who wants to be Zuckerberg's new bitch?

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Facebook wants 2011 to be the company's biggest year to date for acquisitions.

The world's most popular social network has already hoovered up 13 outfits this year, but it plans to gun for seven more firms before the year is out.

Facebook's corporate development director Vaughan Smith, who clearly wants to stay in his job by notching up buyouts, told Bloomberg that he was looking at a variety of design and mobile options for the Mark Zuckerberg-run, privately held firm.

The company is also looking to improve the reliability of its systems for its 750-million-strong stalkerbase.

"Two years ago we didn't have a track record in acquisitions," said Smith.

"While we expected them to work well, it was still a crapshoot how they'd turn out. We've built a culture that supports entrepreneurs, and it's working incredibly well."

Facebook is still taking baby steps compared with web kingpin Google, which recently launched yet another social network product, in a move arguably to offset Zuckerberg's dominance in that market.

In recent months, Facebook has bought a number of small-fry startups such as Netherlands-based outfit Sofa, which had previously developed Apple Mac software and design projects.

It also recently acquired ebook firm Push Pop Press and Snaptu, which develops smartphone-like mobile applications for users of low-end handsets.

Smith made no mention of whether Facebook, which was recently valued at around $70bn, would consider a hardware acquisition.

But perhaps such a bold move will only come after the social network floats in 2012. ®

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