Facebook says HTML5 app was a mistake - Top Turkeys 2012


Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) had a big year in 2012, highlighted by its $16 billion initial public offering (putting aside the mishandling of the IPO itself). Yet Facebook from the start made clear that mobile was going to be a major priority for it as a publicly traded company. Facebook now touts over 1 billion users, with 600 million of those users accessing the social networking platform via mobile.

Yet just like the IPO, Facebook's forays into mobile this year were not without missteps. In August Facebook launched an updated version of its signature app for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, opting for a fully native app instead of embedded HTML5.

"Up until now we've looked at scale, but we've become aware that while we have a great mobile website, embedding HTML5 inside an app isn't what people expect," said Facebook iOS Product Manager Mick Johnson in an interview with The Verge.

A few weeks later Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook's previous reliance on HTML5-based mobile experiences was a serious tactical error.

"We've had a bunch of missteps on [mobile]," Zuckerberg admitted at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. "The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native... We burnt two years."

Facebook had hoped to use HTML5 to present an app that would work across range of mobile platforms, but the company learned instead that it must invest in a native approach in order to please users. The company's next step? Making money from mobile.