Speaking with Michael Arrington at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that "we've had a bunch of missteps on [mobile]," specifically referring to its mobile app strategy. "The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native... We burnt two years." He said that the company would also drop HTML5 in its Android app as well, and that a native version would be coming "soon."
"Native is going to be the approach."
"We're betting completely on it," he said, referring to native apps. "Native is going to be the approach that we go with for iOS and Android." Much of the same infrastructure that Facebook built for iOS will be re-applied to Android, but as for an ETA for the app, Zuckerberg said "it will be ready when it's ready."
He also spoke about Facebook's somewhat tumultuous recent history since its IPO. Zuckerberg believes that how his company will perform in the future will depend on mobile, where it is aiming to do much more than it has in the past. Ads on mobile and iOS integration are two places where Facebook is already starting to move forward, but the CEO hinted that there is more to come. Zuckerberg thinks of mobile as being closer to television than the web when it comes to advertising, simply because ads can't be placed in the convenient right-hand column of a web page.
"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing."
As for the stock price, which has lost half its value since the IPO, Zuckerberg admitted that "The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing." As to whether the depressed stock price would hurt hiring, Zuckerberg felt it was "a good time for people to stay and double-down." He also pointed out that he was expecting more and more of the company's employees to be focused on mobile development.