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Facebook Reports Q1 Figures, Buys AOL Patents

Company closer to reaching 1 billion users
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Facebook’s first-quarter revenue jumped 45 percent year over year to $1.06 billion, but the company’s net income fell 12 percent to $205 million, according to an updated regulatory filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

Facebook’s annual operating expenses have roughly doubled over each of the last two years, but its spend on sales and marketing as well as research and development saw the greatest growth in the past year. First-quarter sales and marketing spending increased by 134 percent year over year to $159 million, and research and development spending rose by 168 percent to $153 million.

But arguably of most interest to advertisers are Facebook’s updated user numbers. The social network revealed that it has added 56 million monthly active users (MAU) since Q4 2011 for a total of 901 million; the MAU trend trajectory indicates that Facebook will likely cross the 1 billion user threshold during the third quarter. While worldwide MAUs have grown fairly steadily over the past two years, U.S. and Canadian numbers have stagnated some. After adding only 3 million U.S. and Canadian MAUs between Q3 and Q4 2011, Facebook accrued another 9 million during Q1 to end the period with 188 million.

Facebook’s mobile user base also increased, adding 56 million worldwide mobile MAUs for a tally of 488 million users. When Facebook initially filed to go public in February, questions surrounded its mobile monetization strategy. Facebook answered with the rollout of Sponsored Stories ads to mobile news feeds, and the updated mobile user numbers should further pad its positioning.

Facebook also revealed that Zynga had a hand in 15 percent of the company Q1 revenue. The company said that 11 percent of its revenue is directly tied to Zynga through payment processing fees and ads purchased by Zynga; the remaining share comes from the ads Facebook sells against the pages Zynga’s apps generate.

The amended S-1 wasn’t the only news Facebook made on Monday. The social network also announced that for $550 million it had purchased 650 of the 925 patents and applications Microsoft bought from AOL a couple weeks ago for $1.06 billion. Facebook is in the middle of a patent war with Yahoo—which the latter company initiated in March—so the Microsoft deal is its latest effort to stockpile ammunition. Less than two weeks after Yahoo claimed in a lawsuit that Facebook had violated 10 of its patents, Reuters reported that Facebook had acquired 750 patents from IBM.