Facebook ‘a mobile company now’- Zuckerberg admits IPO 'missteps'


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made his first public appearance since the companies tumultuous stock market float in May. Speaking at the TechCruch Disrupt event in San Francisco, Zuckerberg declared: “We are a mobile company now.” He conceded one of the group’s “biggest mistakes” was its earlier decision to focus on the mobile web rather than native apps, adding a new Android app would be available “soon”. He vowed that Facebook will make more money on phones than on desktops.

Watch a video of part of the interview below (source: IDG)


He also said search represents a “big opportunity” for the group as it steps up monetisation, saying: “We do 1bn queries a day and we’re not even trying.”

Zuckerberg said: "Literally, six months ago we didn't have an ad on mobile…Over the next three to five years, the biggest question on everyone's mind is really going to be how well Facebook does with mobile…Ads have to be more integrated into the product on mobile.”

Earlier this year, Facebook launched native apps for Apple's iOS smartphones and its Android rival by Google.

In another exchange, he joked: "Everything I do breaks, but I fix it quickly."

IPO misteps

Zuckerberg addressed the fall in Facebook’s share price since its IPO earlier this year, admitting: “The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing.”

Admitting Facebook's stock price has been "disappointing," a resolute Mark Zuckerberg assured the tech gathering that the social-networking company is still strong and ready to make a big mobile push.

"I think a bunch of people" are underestimating us, the CEO said in his first public remarks since Facebook's star-crossed IPO in May. He spoke for 40 minutes at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. "Some days are hard, some days kick ass."

Zuckerberg has largely been invisible since Facebook went public. On Tuesday, he broke his silence. Investors seemed to like what they heard: Facebook shares rose about 3.5% in after-hours trading after closing the regular trading day at $19.43.

"Its performance has obviously been disappointing," Zuckerberg said of Facebook's stock, which is trading at about half its offering price of $38 a share. If Facebook "executes (its) mission, we think we will build value in the long term," he said. "The big question is how well we do with mobile."

Despite self-acknowledged "missteps" in shifting to mobile, Zuckerberg said the company is finding effective ways to reach its members with advertising and has upcoming mobile services that will take advantage of mobile ads. It's just a matter of time, he said, before that translates into significant revenue.

No Facebook phone

When questioned by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington about constant rumours that he was building a Facebook phone, he rejected the speculation and pointed to the site's huge reach.

"If we make a phone we could get maybe 10 million users? Twelve million users? That doesn't move the needle for us. Clearly, it is the wrong strategy for us. Our strategy is to … build a system that is as deeply integrated into every device in the world."

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