Mark Zuckerberg is making no secret of his ambitions to expand Facebook Home, his company's new mobile software skin, beyond the first six Android devices that it will be compatible with when it launches on April 12. "We wanted to turn as many phones as possible into 'Facebook phones,'" Zuckerberg told Wired's Steven Levy in a lengthy interview published shortly after Facebook Home's unveiling event earlier today.
"they [Apple] want to own the whole experience themselves."
Of course, Zuckerberg's vision is currently hampered by the requirements of other mobile operating systems, namely Apple's iOS. "We have a pretty good partnership with Apple, but they want to own the whole experience themselves," Zuckerberg told Levy. Pressed to predict whether Facebook Home would be on the iPhone in two years time, Zuckerberg said: "Look, I would love for that answer to be yes," adding, "a lot of people love iPhones—I love mine, and I would like to be able to deliver Facebook Home there as well."
As for why Android first, Zuckerberg said "there aren’t a lot of bridges between us and Google, but we are aligned with their open philosophy," a clear, if tacit, acknowledgement that Facebook Home as it currently stands would simply not be compatible with the requirements of the Apple App Store or Microsoft's Windows Phone Store.
"There aren’t a lot of bridges between us and Google."
Interestingly, Zuckerberg only brought up Microsoft once in the interview in passing, and Levy didn't press him further on the seemingly inconsistent alliance between the two companies. (Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007, just ahead of its massive growth spurt, and Facebook uses Bing for its desktop Maps and Graph Search web results.) But clearly, Windows Phone isn't at the top of Zuckerberg's list when it comes to viable mobile experiences for Facebook. And in a counterintuitive move, Zuckerberg praised social competitors Twitter, Foursquare, and Pinterest, saying Facebook's Instagram acquisition "will help improve all the things that we do" with the other social players.
"[Instagram]’s big, but it’s not a billion."
At the same time, Zuckerberg also seemed to downplay the importance of Instagram to Facebook's mobile strategy, telling Levy: "It’s a much smaller product by Facebook standards, but it’s a really meaningful product...It’s big, but it’s not a billion. I hope one day it will be." Whether Facebook Home itself gets to the size of Instagram's 100 million users is still just a hope for now, too.
Facebook introduced Home to give mobile users more abilities to share their lives, and Zuckerberg shared a slice of his in the interview, telling Levy he teaches a middle school class once a week in Menlo Park. Could Facebook School be far behind?