Ina Fried

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Zuckerberg: Doing a Phone Doesn’t Make Any Sense

While an increasing amount of energy at Facebook is on mobile efforts, CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted that the company has no interest in doing its own phone hardware.

“A phone just doesn’t make any sense,” Zuckerberg said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Tuesday. “That’s always been the wrong strategy for us.”

Zuckerberg’s comments notwithstanding, Facebook has had a number of projects exploring the idea — an effort detailed in a series of AllThingsD stories last year.

Zuckerberg said that were Facebook to do its own phone — which he said it isn’t — it could at best sell 10 million or 20 million devices.

“That doesn’t move the needle for us,” he said.

Once again, Facebook said it wasn’t doing its own phone — not that, say, it wasn’t creating a Facebook-customized version of Android on which others could build phones.

Zuckerberg did say that a lot of the company’s work is shifting to mobile and insisted that over time the company expects to be able to make more money off mobile advertising than it does from desktop ads. Today, though, the company gets nearly all of its advertising money from its PC-based users.

The company has shifted its approach from doing work on HTML5 to native apps but is focused on Android and iOS as well as continuing its baseline work on the mobile Web.

Zuckerberg said the phone is where things are at, noting that he used his phone to write the entire letter to shareholders that was in Facebook’s prospectus.

“I do everything on my phone, as a lot of people do.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work