Zuckerberg: Stock 'disappointing,' phone not happening but search will
In first post-IPO appearance, Facebook chief talks mobile, morale and search (video below)
Computerworld - In his first public appearance since his company's sluggish IPO, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the social network's stock performance "disappointing."
He also said that Facebook is pushing hard on mobile and will dive into search at some point, and he insisted that there are no plans for a phone. He said he can't emphasize it enough -- there will be no Facebook phone.
"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing," he said during an on-stage interview at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon. "How well we do with mobile is a big part of it.... A lot of stuff has changed. Six months ago, we hadn't launched our new apps, Apple hadn't announced their new iOS integration. People shouldn't underestimate how fundamentally good mobile is for us."
Facebook's initial public offering in May largely has been a big disappointment to investors and other players in the social networking world.
In the months running up to the company's IPO, there had been great expectations, with analysts and investors predicting that Facebook's stock would take off, soaring from its opening price of $38 a share to $50, $60 or even as high as $90.
Instead, the company's stock has been hammered, its price sinking instead of growing. On Tuesday, the company's share price closed the day at $19.43.
In recent weeks, talk turned to whether a seasoned businessperson could better lead Facebook, leaving 28-year-old Zuckerberg, with his gray T-shirts and hoodies, to focus on the technology instead of running a major business venture.
Appearing on the conference stage, Zuckerberg came across as calm and with a vision of where he wants to take his company. That vision is largely focused on mobile.
The move toward mobile may signal a shift from the pre-IPO days when there were doubts about Facebook's readiness to compete in the burgeoning mobile market. Facebook itself, in its pre-IPO filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), listed mobile as one of its risk factors.
That's not how Zuckerberg sees it today.
"With the person using Facebook on mobile, there's more engagement and they're spending more time. Mobile users are more likely to be daily active users," he said. "Before, we had a mobile core team.... Now we are a mobile company."
Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, said Zuckerberg came across as being aware of the company's challenges and in control of figuring out one of those challenges -- mobile.
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