Ina Fried

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Zuckerberg: Facebook Stock Drop Is Disappointing; Mobile Strategy Is Misunderstood

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says it is “disappointing” that the stock has dropped as much as it has but said that the company’s mobile strategy that will guide its growth is “misunderstood.”

“The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing,” Zuckerberg said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Tuesday. “We care about our shareholders.”

Some of that drop, though, he attributed to the fact that its mobile strategy, which is both relatively new and also misunderstood.

The real key for Facebook over the next three to five years, Zuckerberg said, is how well the company can do in mobile — an issue it is just now addressing. Over time, Zuckerberg said, the company expects to make more money from its mobile users than it does from those accessing the social network via a computer.

“Mobile is a lot closer to TV than it is to desktop,” Zuckerberg said, when comparing the ability to make money. There just isn’t room to have ads on the side, but that means they are more integrated and immersive.

“We know we are going to do well on that,” he said, but added, “We’ve had a bunch of missteps.”

Elaborating, Zuckerberg said that “the biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native,” he said. It just wasn’t ready.

The company started its big bet on HTML5 two years ago and bet that the technology would get there quickly. After a few months, the company realized that its bet wasn’t the right one.

“Good enough is not good enough,” Zuckerberg said. The company is now focused on native work for iOS and Android, he said.

The company has known its mobile apps weren’t up to snuff, he said.

“We’re very self-critical,” Zuckerberg said.

The last update to the iPhone app, he said, was all about increasing the performance while offering the same features. Future updates, he said, will focus on making the apps more capable.

An Android update should be coming soon, but he wouldn’t be pinned down on a date. “It will be ready when it’s ready,” he said.

Asked by moderator Michael Arrington whether the stock drop is hurting employee morale, Zuckerberg quipped: “It doesn’t help.”

However, he noted Facebook has long been a controversial company. “It’s not like this is the first up-and-down we’ve had.”

Zuckerberg’s talk is seen as a major test of the young chief executive and marks his first appearance since the company’s stock offering earlier this year. The social network’s stock has lost roughly half its value since going public.

The company went public at $38 a share and closed trading on Tuesday at $19.43, up 62 cents, or about 3 percent for the day.

Zuckerberg’s talk is just getting started. Check back for updates.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus