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Zuckerberg: Stock 'disappointing,' no phone or search on way

Sharon Gaudin | Sept. 12, 2012
In his first public appearance since Facebook's sluggish IPO, company co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckergerg called their stock performance "disappointing."

In his first public appearance since Facebook's sluggish IPO, company co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckergerg called their stock performance "disappointing."

He also said Facebook is pushing hard on mobile, will dive into search at some point, and no, they are not building a phone. Seriously, he can't emphasize it enough -- there will be no Facebook phone.

"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing," he said during an on-stage interview at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon. "How well we do with mobile is a big part of it... A lot of stuff has changed. Six months ago we hadn't launched our new apps, Apple hadn't announced their new iOS integration. People shouldn't underestimate how fundamentally good mobile is for us."

Facebook's initial public offering this past May largely has been a big disappointment to investors and other players in the social networking world.

In the months running up to the company's IPO, there had been great expectations, with analysts and investors predicting that Facebook's stock would take off, soaring from its opening price of $38 a share to $50, $60 or even as high as $90.

However, that hasn't happened. Instead, the company's IPO has been hammered, sinking instead of growing. On Tuesday, the company's stock closed the day at $19.43.

That means the disappointing results have stood out in even greater contrast to the height of its pre-IPO expectations.

In recent weeks, talk turned to whether a seasoned business person could better lead Facebook, leaving 28-year-old Zuckerberg, with his gray T-shirts and hoodies, to focus on the technology instead of running a major business venture.

Appearing on stage today, though, Zuckerberg came across as a calm man who has a plan for where to take his company. And his vision is largely focused right now on mobile.

And that's a good thing since there was quite a bit of pre-IPO doubt about Facebook's readiness to take on the burgeoning mobile market. In its pre-IPO documentation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Facebook even listed mobile as one of its risk factors.

That's not how Zuckerberg sees it today.

"With the person using Facebook on mobile, there's more engagement and they're spending more time. Mobile users are more likely to be daily active users," he said. "Before we had a mobile core team... Now we are a mobile company."

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said Zuckerberg came across as being clear about the company's challenges and being in control of figuring out one of them -- mobile.

"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."


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