Why Mark Zuckerberg will never make a Facebook phone – and four other gems from his first post-IPO interview

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed the social network definitely won’t move into the smartphone market, saying in his first post-initial public offering interview that such an experiment “just doesn’t make any sense”.

The Facebook chief made the comments as part of his interview at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, where dozens of prominent entrepreneurs and investors have given talks or interviews on their ventures.

Zuckerberg’s interview was the first since the company went public, and during that time the company’s share price has been cut in half.

In his interview with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, the founder dismissed the idea Facebook would ever move into the phone market.

“It doesn’t move the needle for us,” he said. “The phone just doesn’t make any sense.”

There have been countless rumours and reports on Facebook makings its own phone, or at least its own operating system. For now, Zuckerberg may have put those rumours to rest, saying the phone would only grab about 10 million users.

“The strategy that’s different for every other tech company, which is building their own hardware, we’re going in the opposite direction,” Zuckerberg said. “We want to build a system which is as deeply as possible integrated into every major device people want to use.”

Zuckerberg’s interview seems to have struck a chord with investors – shares have risen 4.6% just in the hours after he took the stage.

But the comments on a potential Facebook phone weren’t the only pieces of information Zuckerberg dropped in the interview. Here are four other juicy tidbits.

1. Mobile will make more money than desktop

One of the things Facebook investors are worried about is that more users are accessing the network on mobiles rather than the desktop. The problem is that Facebook is having a hard time extracting revenue from its mobile users.

But Zuckerberg has attempted to put those fears to rest.

“We’re going to execute this mission to make the world connected and build value over the long term. The bigger question that will define how we’ve done is how we do with mobile.”

He also pointed out that since the release of the new iOS app, users are looking at twice as many stories on their news feeds.

He’s disappointed – obviously – with Facebook’s stock price

Facebook debuted at $US38. It was sitting at $19.43 before Zuckerberg took the stage. How does he feel about that?

“Well, the performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing,” he said, also adding that it “doesn’t help” internal morale.

“Maybe some people will leave. I actually think it’s a great time for people to join and also for people to stay and double down.”

However, Zuckerberg underlined his IPO letter which stated Facebook “doesn’t build services to make money, we make money to build better services”.

2. He’d rather stay under the radar

The poor post-IPO performance has put Facebook in a bad light. But that’s not necessarily something Zuckerberg hates.

“I would rather be underestimated,” he said. “I think a bunch of people are underestimating us.”

3. Facebook is hiring

Given Facebook’s poor performance, it would be understandable that many employees would try to leave. Zuckerberg attempted to counter that potential damage when he said, “I think it’s a good time for people to join, and it’s a great time to stick around”.

“Launching apps drives morale; morale inside and outside the company,” he said. “People come and say I want to work at this place because you built that.

4. One more: He wrote the IPO letter on his iPhone

Typing on an iPhone can be arduous even when crafting short messages. But Zuckerberg has blown that complaint out of the water.

“Want to know something sort of funny?” he said on stage. “You know the Founder’s Letter in the S-1, well I wrote that on my phone.”

Given the letter is over 2,000 words, that’s an impressive feat.

 

 

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