FACEBOOK: Zuckerberg Speaks Out
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) made its debut on the Nasdaq nearly four months ago. The occasion was celebrated by Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, ringing the exchange’s opening bell remotely from his headquarters in Silicon Valley. Zuckerberg updated the event on his own Facebook page, but has remained hidden from the public ever since. However, the 28-year-old finally made his first media appearance since the initial public offering.
Last night, Zuckerberg took center stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, a conference held for developers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. He sported his typical jeans and t-shirt outfit. Zuckerberg was asked several questions by Michael Arrington, TechCrunch’s founder, about Facebook’s future and possibilities. Arrington wasted no time asking Zuckerberg about Facebook shares, which have been sliced in half since going public. The Facebook CEO noted the performance has been “disappointing” so far, but explained the company’s mobile strategy is “misunderstood.”
“The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing,” Zuckerberg said at the conference. “We care about our shareholders.” He also provided hope by highlighting positive results in mobile. “What we are seeing already, even with the early mobile ads that we have, is that they are performing even better than the right hand column ads on desktop…there’s a huge opportunity.” Six months ago, Facebook did not have a single ad on mobile.
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Zuckerberg also said, “We are going to do the things we think that add value over the long-term.” When asked about search, he clearly stated, “We have a team working on search.” While search sites such as Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing simply match keywords, Zuckerberg pictures a Facebook service that answers questions such as “What sushi restaurants do my friends like?” He added, “When you look back 10, 20 years from now, the legacy of this company should be that we’ve connected everyone in the world and that everyone can share all the stuff that they want.”
When asked about making mistakes, Zuckerberg explained, “The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native.” Now though, Facebook is focused on native work for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google’s Android. He also denied rumors that the social media juggernaut is building a smartphone. “Clearly, that is the wrong strategy for us,” Zuckerberg claimed. When you have more than 900 million users, getting another 10 million or 20 million to purchase a phone “doesn’t move the needle for us.”
Although a phone doesn’t move Facebook’s needle, Zuckerberg’s appearance was enough to move the company’s stock price as much as 4 percent higher in late trading. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares also traded higher as Zuckerberg said the social gaming firm was “a fundamentally strong company.”
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