Mark Zuckerberg relieved investors in his first major public appearance since the No. 1 social network’s rocky May IPO, breathing life into its struggling shares after hinting at new growth areas from mobile to search. Zuckerberg, who has himself lost billions of dollars on paper since Facebook’s market debut, admitted to disappointment about his company’s collapsing share price, but argued Wall Street has yet to grasp the full potential of its fledgling mobile business.The 28-year-old co-founder asking Wall Street to be patient as the company developed new products, addressing issues such as employee morale, and dashing rumors Facebook may build a smartphone.
Facebook became the first U.S. company to debut on stock markets with a value of more than $100 billion. But it has since lost more than half of its capitalization as investors worry about slowing growth and the company’s challenges making money as users shift from PCs to mobile devices.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Zuckerberg highlighted Facebook’s progress in mobile over the past six months and the company’s room for growth. Facebook’s recently released mobile ads are already delivering better results for advertisers than the traditional “display” ads that appear on the right-hand side of the social networking service on PCs.
Facebook has a team working on the social network’s existing search feature, which already garners roughly 1 billion queries every day, Zuckerberg noted. But at some point he said Facebook would focus its efforts more intently on developing a full-featured search service, which he described as a “big opportunity.”