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Zynga's iPhone Games: Step Towards an IPO

Today Zynga took a major step: It's bringing its social games to the iPhone, which makes the company less reliant on Facebook, which will enable it to go public. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus joined Apple's Steve Jobs on stage at the Apple developers conference to introduce a Farmville app. for the iPhone. Now the 35 million people who play Farmville every single day don't need to log into Facebook. They can farm from the iPhone on the fly.

Zynga is a prime candidate for an IPO, but industry insiders tell me that the key thing keeping Zynga from going public is its reliance on Facebook. The social network has cut back on the growth of Zynga games by limiting updates and notifications of players. Zynga's been profitable since 2007 and it's growing fast, on track for an estimated $500 million plus in revenue this year. Over 90 percent of the company's revenue comes from virtual goods, and until recently the company was entirely dependent on Facebook. But in late May Yahoo! announced a distribution deal to allow players to play Zynga games from Yahoo's homepage as well as Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo mail.

The introduction of Zynga games on iPhone apps is a crucial step to establish the company's independence from Facebook. Zynga's games have the popularity, and now they'll have wide-reaching platforms beyond Facebook. Zynga just got one step closer to its inevitable IPO.

Here's my exclusive interview with Zynga CEO Mark Pincus at Facebook's developer conference in April.

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