Facebook Launches an iPhone War from a Secret BunkerS

It's an incredible sneak attack, even by Silicon Valley standards: Fed up with the iPhone and immersed in trash talk, Facebook executives have reportedly created a secret bunker from which to develop a shadowy new phone platform.

The social network has acquired space for its phone skunkworks in "a 'secret' other building, not inside Facebook's main headquarters in Palo Alto, California," according to Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider. And it has named former venture capitalist and AOL music executive Chamath Palihapitiya to head up the program. The smart money says Facebook is developing its own version of Google's open source Android operating system for mobile phones, which would seem to put it in competition with Apple. Which is just as well, given the bad blood between the two companies: A key iPhone manager dissed a high-profile Facebook mobile programmer as a "mediocre engineer," and Facebook's top executives have openly complained about their iPhones and iPhone reception. It could become a fierce fight, but given the security issues at both companies, it's totally unclear who consumers should root for.

[Image of Facebook phone via Eugene Dimarsky/Flickr; Photo of Facebook office via ChillOutPoint]