Facebook boss offers robust defence of company's mobile aspirations
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted the social network's stock performance since its IPO has been "disappointing" but signalled a renewed focus on mobile that seems to have appeased investors.
Since its stock market debut in May this year Facebook's share price has steadily fallen. From a high of $44 on launch day it is now trading around $20, meaning the company has lost over half its value.
The fall has primarily been driven by fears that Facebook is unable to repeat the advertising success of its desktop site on mobile versions. Its IPO filing stated that of its 900 million members, over 500 million use Facebook via a mobile each month.
"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing," Zuckerberg told TechCrunch's Disrupt conference in San Francisco. "It's not the first up and down that we ever had."
Speaking to tech blogger and investor Michael Arrington, Zuckerberg added that Facebook will now be shifting even more of its focus to mobile development. He admitted that the company's mobile app efforts so far - primarily for Apple iOS and Android devices - have not been good enough, and he blamed that on HTML5.
"It is really clear from the stats and my own personal intuition that a lot of energy in the ecosystem is going to mobile, not desktop," he said, adding that Facebook had "burned" two years by working on HTML5 rather than native mobile apps.
The recent iOS update changed that, Zuckerberg said, as people are now consuming twice as many stories on their feeds as they did on the old app. He also hinted that a new, native app for Android is on the way.
"Now we are a mobile company and all the code is being written in mobile," he added. "We will make more money on mobile than we make on desktop."
As if to emphasis the importance of mobile to Facebook, Zuckerberg said he wrote the Founder's Letter for the company's IPO filing on his mobile device. However he added that making a Facebook phone, a long-rumoured development, made no sense.
In the hours after the interview, Facebook's stock jumped to just under $20 from the $18 it had been trading at during the day, suggesting investors were impressed with Zuckerberg's robust defence of Facebook's mobile potential.
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