Zuckerberg: Stock 'disappointing,' phone not happening but search will

In first post-IPO appearance, Facebook chief talks mobile, morale and search (video below)

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"It sounds to me like he was simply being straightforward about his thoughts and Facebook plans," said Olds. "Although I don't think that was what investors or Wall Street necessarily wanted to hear. I think they would want to hear him take responsibility or maybe even apologize for the huge losses from Facebook stock since the IPO."

However, aside from expecting Zuckerberg to fall on his sword, investors and analysts want to hear what the CEO is doing to move the company forward, Olds said. While Zuckerberg said the right things about mobile, Olds said he's waiting to see how it plays out.

"He's right that much of their future is in mobile, but the proof of how well they're doing in mobile today will be in the pudding that we'll see in their next earnings report," he added.

For now, Facebook is dealing with the fallout from its lackluster IPO.

When asked if the slumping stock price was affecting employee retention and morale, Zuckerberg, who was wearing his typical T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, responded, "Well, it doesn't help."

He went on to say that this isn't the first time people have bet against the company and it probably won't be the last.

"This isn't the first up and down that Facebook has ever had," Zuckerberg said. "We go in waves. At times people think everything we're doing is awesome, and there are times when people are really pessimistic. I'd rather be in this cycle where people underestimate us. It gives us latitude to go out and make some big bets."

However, Zuckerberg was very clear that one of those big bets will not be to build a smartphone.

The CEO was repeatedly asked about rumors that the company is developing a phone, and he repeatedly pushed those questions aside.

"That's always been the wrong strategy for us," he said. "We'll have 950 million users soon. Let's say we built a phone, theoretically -- we're not -- but we get 10 million people to use it. That doesn't move the needle for us.... The phone just doesn't make any sense."

What does Zuckerberg see as a good strategy down the road?


When asked about his interest in getting into search and how much Google's entrance into the world of social networking annoyed him, Zuckerberg didn't pull many punches. "We do on the order of a billion queries a day now and we're not even trying," he said. "I think there's a lot of opportunity there and we'll have to some day go after that."

Zuckerberg said he didn't have anything specific to announce about search, but said it would be an obvious thing for the company to do in the future.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at  @sgaudin and on Google+, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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