Facebook's Zuckerberg says mobile first priority

PALO ALTO, California (Reuters) - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose limited role in promoting the No. 1 social network's market debut has drawn criticism, laid out its growth strategy to investors on Friday, saying that transforming its mobile and advertising experience are top priorities in 2012.

Integrating online apps more strongly into Facebook is also a major goal, he told hundreds of investors at an event that capped the first week of Facebook's cross-country "roadshow" to pitch its highly anticipated initial public offering.

Facebook aims to raise about $10.6 billion, dwarfing the coming-out parties of tech companies like Google Inc and valuing it at up to $96 billion - rivaling Amazon.com Inc's.

Zuckerberg, 27, who started Facebook in his Harvard dorm room 8 years ago, said Facebook's key priorities in 2012 were to improve its mobile application, to build stronger ties incorporating its social network with other online apps and to create a "transformative" advertising experience.

The company is "just getting started" with its mobile app, said Zuckerberg, who appeared on stage in a grey T-shirt and dark trousers at Palo Alto's Crowne Plaza, flanked by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and finance chief David Ebersman.

With 900 million users, Facebook is the world's dominant social network. Zuckerberg was Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2010 and was depicted in the fictionalized 2010 movie "The Social Network".

"Over the next 10 years or so, every consumer category should be transformed to be built around people," Zuckerberg told fund managers and Silicon Valley glitterati such as Netscape co-founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

"People will listen to music and watch TV with other people" through Facebook.

"We only recently reached this tipping point," Zuckerberg said as the audience consumed a lunch of curried chicken salad and chocolate-chip cookies.

"It is a bit of a celebrity event," said Alice Evans with London-based F & C Asset Management. "You're not expecting to learn that much but it's as close as you can get to kicking the tires."

NO STOPPING IT?

Wall Street had been concerned about the company's ability to wring revenue from mobile users, considered crucial for long-term growth, as well as slowing growth in Facebook's main advertising business.

But that may not dampen demand for shares of the high-flying Web company, which is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is a business success story. On Thursday, a source close to the process told Reuters its IPO was already oversubscribed, a week before final pricing.

Facebook has indicated an IPO price range of $28 to $35 a share on Thursday, which would value the company at $77 billion to $96 billion.

Zuckerberg - sans his trademark "hoodie" sweatshirt - made brief introductory comments at the event, which took place 8 miles from Facebook's new Menlo Park headquarters at One Hacker Way, before opening the session up to questions.

The company had provoked some grumbles from investors earlier this week, when it took limited questions from the audience at an event in New York. And Zuckerberg skipped other stops on the roadshow this week, such Boston.

Investors managed to get in more than 10 questions at Friday's event, ranging from capital spending to regulation, even as Facebook maintained tight control over the proceedings, forbidding follow-up questions.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg said Facebook's overall advertising business was gaining steam, with increased spending by most of its marketers. The two executives highlighted social ads as an important tool for Facebook to tackle its mobile challenge.

The ads, which incorporate information about Facebook users' friends who "like" certain products, are better suited to the smaller screens of smartphones, from which more than half of Facebook's users access the service, executives said.

As Facebook collects more user data, such as location, it will be able to offer more relevant mobile ads, executives said.

Asked about Facebook's $1 billion purchase of mobile app maker Instagram, its largest acquisition, Zuckerberg said the deal was under consideration for one to two months before it occurred. Media reports had said it was forged over a weekend.

The number of Instagram users has already grown from 30 million to 50 million since the deal was announced in early April, he noted.

Facebook's offering marks a watershed moment for the new generation of Web companies that are challenging established players such as Google and Yahoo for consumers' online time and for advertising dollars.

The company's shares, which will be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol FB, could begin trading as soon as May 18.

"They did a good job of addressing the tough questions. They have a clear vision," said one investor who attended the event but did not want to be named.

(Reporting By Alistair Barr and Alexei Oreskovic, Additional reporting by Poornima Gupta, Noel Randewich and Gerry Shih, Writing by Edwin Chan; editing by Richard Chang)

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • 8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study
    8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study

    Eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian nations, according to a research. The study, published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities. The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • UNA hits PNP selection process
    UNA hits PNP selection process

    The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) hit yesterday the apparent machinations in the selection of the new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief. Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA interim president, said the administration and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are perpetuating the bata-bata or patronage system in the selection process of the police chief. “They will start this by maneuvering the appointment of Gen. Garbo as PNP chief,” said Tiangco, referring to one of the top contenders for PNP …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Pacquiao: Mayweather is the fight of my life
    Pacquiao: Mayweather is the fight of my life

    Manny Pacquiao called his boxing showdown with Floyd Mayweather “the fight of my life” as he got down to work pounding the streets and gym in Los Angeles. On Monday, Pacquiao ran two miles (3.2 km) and shadow-boxed for two rounds, followed by abdominal work and breakfast of steamed rice, scrambled egg, fish and chicken broth. Then he napped until noon and had lunch before heading to trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym, which is strictly off-limits to fans and media during Pacquiao’s …

  • An ocean away, Pacquiao's trainer makes some noise from afar
    An ocean away, Pacquiao's trainer makes some noise from afar

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Armed guards patrolling the gym where Manny Pacquiao trains. Stealthy attempts to disrupt Pacquiao's sparring. And a bit of trash talking just to spice things up two months before the big fight. …

  • Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship
    Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

    TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options