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Zuckerberg: Facebook stock performance disappointing

September 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence Tuesday about the 50 percent drop in the stock price since the social network went public four months ago and about the future. Zuckerberg made his remarks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

It was a long-awaited event -- a 25-minute interview of Zuckerberg with questions from the founder of TechCrunch, Michael Arrington. Zuckerberg hasn't made any public remarks since Facebook went public nearly four months ago, and with the stock price dropping over 50 percent recently, that was the first issue raised.

"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing, and we care about our shareholders, and the commitment that we made is that we're going to execute this mission of making the world more interconnected and we're going to the things that we think are going to build value over the short-term," Zuckerberg told Arrington.

Investors have been worried whether Facebook had a strategy to put ads on mobile phones as its nearly one billion users shift away from desktop computers.

"We're seeing some great mobile monetization products get developed," Zuckerberg said. "They have to be fundamentally integrated into the product, and what we're seeing already in the early mobile ads that we have, they perform better than the right column ads on desktop. So I think we know we're going to do well on that."

Zuckerberg also mentioned the possibility of a next-generation search product.

"Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of the questions that people have -- what sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York in the past six months and liked?" he explained.

Game and social network developers welcomed the break in silence, even as Zuckerberg spoke at lightning speed.

"He spoke really fast, so I think he's been wanting to get these things out for a while," said Neil Chandran of Sun Game. So why has he held back until this point? "Probably of wanting to let the public markets make their own decisions and not influence them until he was ready."

"I think his remarks to the tech community will end up making more people develop mobile versions of their devices, of their technology," said Jeany Stein, CEO and president of Select2gether. "That will help a lot of mobile."

Zuckerberg said there are many new products that will be coming out in the next six months. We'll have to see if his wide-ranging comments will soothe the anxiety of investors and restore their confidence. Facebook shares did gain 3 percent Tuesday, ahead of his fireside chat.

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