Zuckerberg bet on wrong mobile technology
MARK ZUCKERBERG, Facebook chief executive, has admitted the social networking company had “burned two years” betting on the wrong mobile technology, in his first public comments since the company’s poor stock market debut in May.
Mr Zuckerberg said one of the company’s “biggest mistakes” was its bet on mobile web-based technology, when it should have built directly on the Apple and the Google smartphone platforms.
“It is really painful,” he said, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco late on Tuesday. But he promised a new Android app would be released “soon”, following the recent successful launch of a new iPhone app.
He avoided talking about the financial details of the initial public offering, but said the stock’s decline since flotation was “disappointing”.
Facebook stock hit an all-time low of $17.73 after opening at $38 in May. It closed 3.3 per cent higher at $19.43 yesterday and rose to $20.08 in after-hours trading following his remarks. At lunchtime yesterday, the shares were trading 6 per cent higher at $20.61, having earlier hit $20.99.
Mr Zuckerberg emphasised that the company was now integrating mobile into every aspect of its business and had made several internal changes to product development to keep it in focus. He said these were based on data and his own intuition.
Besides mobile, Mr Zuckerberg said that Facebook would also, at some point, do more work on search, edging the company further into Google’s territory.
Mr Zuckerberg said there was a “big opportunity” for Facebook to develop the capability further so users could search for restaurants, or for others working at a company where they were considering a job.
Pressed on how the falling share price had affected employee retention and morale, he said: “Well, it doesn’t help.”
Mr Zuckerberg reiterated that Facebook was focused on the long term.
“Facebook has not been an uncontroversial company in the past,” he said, adding later: “I’d rather be in the cycle where people underestimate us.” – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012)