Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg knocks HTML5 in favor of native apps

Mark Zuckerberg didn't hold back in acknowledging Facebook's mistakes, citing a focus on HTML5 as the biggest one.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 on Tuesday afternoon in his first post-IPO public interview amid a very crowded hall of press, analysts, startup entrepreneurs and developers.

See also: Salesforce CEO gets candid about Google, Facebook and Yammer

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington cut right to the chase during a fireside chat, asking Zuckerberg about the tumultuous period following going public on the NASDAQ this summer.

Zuckerberg admitted immediately, "The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing."

"Facebook has not been an uncontroversial company in the past," Zuckerberg defended. "It's not like this is the first up and down we've ever had."

But what might have been a bigger revelation was what Zuckerberg identified as Facebook's biggest strategic mistake in the last few years.

"The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 rather than native," Zuckerberg said. A large portion of the audience seemed to be in accord with Zuckerberg on this one (or at least fans of native apps) as his ensuing explanation garnered a bit of applause.

So if investors and analysts want some reassurance about how the world's largest social network is going to grow revenue from here, look to your smartphones and tablets.

"Over the next three to five years, the biggest question on everyone's minds is really how we will do with mobile," Zuckerberg predicted.

Zuckerberg further explained that there are more people accessing Facebook on mobile devices, and there are also higher levels of engagement as users are spending more time.

For instance, Zuckerberg cited that mobile users are more likely to access Facebook at least six out of seven days each week.

Essentially, Zuckerberg posited that more users on mobile means that Facebook can make a lot more money through mobile over desktop.

Right now, Zuckerberg asserted that the recently upgraded iOS app is in good shape, adding that "hopefully the Android one will be soon" too. As for the HTML5 version, Zuckerberg said that is still being worked on an integrated on the side, but the focus now is native.

"On iOS and Android, you can do so much better by doing native work, and we need to just do that," Zuckerberg argued.

Yet despite all of this focus on mobile, don't expect Facebook to release a phone of its own as it has been rumored countless times before.

"It's so clearly the wrong strategy for us," Zuckerberg laughed, admitting that it "sounds juicy" but that "it doesn't move the needle for us."

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