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Zuckerberg Reveals Why He Didn't Build a Facebook Phone

By - Source: Wired | B 15 comments

Facebook can reach a wider audience with Facebook Home, not a Facebook phone.

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Wired shortly after the Facebook Home reveal, explaining why his company chose to create a launcher for Android phones instead of an actual Facebook phone. To his defense, taking the former route was not only cheaper for the social network, but less time consuming than building an actual operating system and tuning it for a reference design. He claims the launcher will simply reach more users.

"I’ve always been very clear that I don’t think that’s the right strategy," he said in an interview. "We’re a community of a billion-plus people, and the best-selling phones—apart from the iPhone—can sell 10, 20 million. If we did build a phone, we’d only reach 1 or 2 percent of our users. That doesn’t do anything awesome for us. We wanted to turn as many phones as possible into 'Facebook phones.' That’s what Facebook Home is."

Currently, the Facebook Home numbers are still slim, branded phone or not. The launcher will make its debut on the HTC First on April 12, and will then be made available on Google Play for the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. It will also run on the upcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4 phones when they arrive, and on more devices in the coming months. Overall, that's not many Facebook users despite the company's broad goal.

So then why not team up with Apple too? "We have a pretty good partnership with Apple, but they want to own the whole experience themselves," he admitted. "There aren’t a lot of bridges between us and Google, but we are aligned with their open philosophy."

He also said that Facebook created Home because the company knew it could do better than to simply produce highly-polished apps that resembled the desktop experience. "Facebook accounts for 23 percent of the time people spend on smartphones. The next-biggest ones are Instagram and Google Maps, which are each at 3-percent. For the past 18 months, we spent our efforts building good versions of Facebook’s mobile apps. But the design was still very close to what we have on the desktop. We knew that we could do better."

The full interview can be read on Wired here. Topics cover preventing a walled garden at Facebook, the site's News Feed, taking a vacation, making financial donations and more.

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  • 3 Hide
    Shin-san , April 6, 2013 6:56 AM
    I'm starting to notice that companies based on open philosophies tend to be quite creepy with data
  • 3 Hide
    kartu , April 6, 2013 7:08 AM
    Shin-sanI'm starting to notice that companies based on open philosophies tend to be quite creepy with data

    Hell yeah, as opposed to, say, Apple, who by default (and silently) tracked user movement.
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    Bloob , April 6, 2013 7:08 AM
    WP puts people first, and more than just Facebook. That's, if you can live with the limitations of the platform.
  • 1 Hide
    shloader , April 6, 2013 7:27 AM
    Unfortunately basing your sales pitch on security and privacy in the mobile segment doesn't really capture users or shareholders. If it did we'd all look at RIM a little more than we do. Probably wouldn't go that way but as it is, a blackberry is still little more than a joke in most minds. The facebook mentality is simple; people tell themselves they'll just install it to keep in touch with a close few and that they'll limit their exposure but before long they're taking photos of dinner, waiting for judgement and validation. Before long it's like some worst case scenario from the South Park episode 'You have Zero Friends'.
  • 8 Hide
    Star72 , April 6, 2013 8:22 AM
    I think I'll just keep my phone Facebook free.
  • 2 Hide
    maddy143ded , April 6, 2013 10:56 AM
    went from being on facebook for nearly 12 hours a day to just checking it when i receive a notification in my gmail......
    wouldn't post any private data on it even if they paid me to do it...
  • 0 Hide
    itchyisvegeta , April 6, 2013 11:49 AM
    I think Facebook should work on making their current Android software better, before coming out with their own phone. No wonder their stocks are always so low.
  • 3 Hide
    largg , April 6, 2013 6:38 PM
    I don't facebook, I have never been on facebook. Am I the only one because it seems like facebook is everywhere.
  • 0 Hide
    hp79 , April 7, 2013 12:33 AM
    larggI don't facebook, I have never been on facebook. Am I the only one because it seems like facebook is everywhere.

    I don't facebook either. Oh, except for the times they do some kind of Amex related promotions giving out free money and stuff. I think facebook would have been useful if I was still in highschool, like 20 years ago? lol.
  • 0 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , April 7, 2013 8:12 AM
    Yesterday, I actually uploaded a picture to my Facebook account (rare enough) directly from my phone (even rarer)...and I used Firefox to do it. I'm perfectly content to keep using Facebook as a website; I don't need it to be an app and I sure as heck don't want it to be my phone.
  • 1 Hide
    del35 , April 7, 2013 1:38 PM
    Ummmm, I thought he was a genius. GET A LIFE MEDIA MEDIATED SUCKER!
  • 1 Hide
    vaughn2k , April 7, 2013 9:05 PM
    like I care..
  • 1 Hide
    nebun , June 27, 2013 5:01 PM
    thank goodness i gave up on facebook....i no longer drag that hideous and heavy chain around my neck
  • 1 Hide
    Ashley Stephens , August 10, 2013 3:09 PM
    Because Facebook is the new MySpace. In a few years, it will be gone, their investors, oops, saps, will be broke, and we'll be on to the next "great thing"
    People roll their eyes when I when i tell them that, but who would have thought MySpace would be the joke it is now. Also, the FB demographic was supposed to kids in the 13-20's range. They've already abandoned it, and are using Twitter. Adults are the only people using FB, which is enough for it to fail all by itself
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