Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed to dismiss the idea of the social networking giant building its own smartphone, but he left open the possibility of working more intimately on mobile development.
Recently, speculation has swirled that Facebook is working with smartphone maker HTC on a branded smartphone. Additionally, reports have noted that Facebook has hired former Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hardware and software engineers, as well as former key Palm webOS engineers for some kind of modified mobile platform.
Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook's mobile philosophy on the company's second-quarter earnings conference call--its first as a publicly traded company--and he seemed to dispel many of the rumors. "There are a lot of things that you can build in other operating systems as well that aren't really taking--that aren't really like building out a whole phone, which I think wouldn't really make much sense for us to do," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks.
However, earlier in his response to the question, he seemed to leave open the idea of working more closely on mobile development. "We thought a lot about this question of--and I even talked about it in my opening remarks today, we want to not just have apps that people use but also be kind of deeply integrated into the systems as possible," he said. "We want to support a development ecosystem, where other apps can build on top of Facebook. So that's why you'll see us do things like support Apple in the iOS  integration that they wanted to do."
Facebook reported net losses of $157 million in the quarter and said it plans to focus more on mobile services. Facebook now boasts 955 million monthly active users worldwide, up 29 percent over a year ago, with daily active users topping 552 million, a 32 percent year-over-year increase. Mobile monthly active users reached 543 million, surging 67 percent over year-ago totals.
"We will develop new products, particularly in mobile," said COO Sheryl Sandberg. Zuckerberg added: "Facebook is the most used app on basically every mobile platform. So when we think about what we want to do right now, we want to increase the depth of experience in addition to just growing users. We want to not just have applications that people use, but also be deeply integrated into these systems as much as possible, and develop an ecosystem where other apps can be built on top of Facebook."
Facebook will soon open its first engineering office outside of the United States with a new facility in London with a focus on mobile products.
- see this Seeking Alpha transcript
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this PC Magazine article
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