Facebook is a mobile company, but stop asking Mark Zuckerberg about the phone thing already.
On its fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, the Facebook CEO and founder may have said the word "mobile" 1.59 billion times, but that legendary Facebook phone is just a fairy tale. "People keep on asking if we're going to build a phone," said Zuckerberg. "We're not going to build a phone."
Mobile Is Just Starting To Make Money
And why would it ever need to? Between Instagram and its own apps, Facebook already owns over 25% of the time that users in the U.S. spend on mobile devices. It overtook Google Maps last October as the most popular smartphone app in the U.S. According to Facebook's Q4 earnings numbers, mobile ads on those apps are starting to pay off.
Facebook Is Already On Your Phone
Facebook is already a massive mobile platform - it doesn't need its own device or operating system to drive its mobile revenue efforts. Its ultra-sticky mobile apps are already in your hands on just about every mobile device possible, Trojan horse style.
Besides, adding hardware to the mix would be beyond messy. For a cautionary tale, just look at Google's Nexus 4 woes - and that's coming from a company with a much deeper understanding of mobile than Facebook.
Finally, Facebook says it's plenty happy with its ongoing relationships with Android and iOS. Zuckerberg noted that the mobile team has enjoyed the deep integration that's possible in Android's far more open ecosystem, but that he's been very pleased with the direct rapport between his company and Apple too. As of iOS 6, Facebook has achieved extremely deep iOS integration - for an Apple outsider, anyhow.
Why would Facebook build a phone when it's already infiltrated the lion's share of mobile devices?