Facebook’s Zuckerberg on relationships with big companies

November 17, 2010

Facebook has had its differences with Google and Apple in recent months. FACEBOOK/

And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried his best not to comment directly on the budding rivalry with the two tech titans during his appearance at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

But Zuckerberg did offer some clues about Facebook’s philosophy towards working with big companies that might offer some insight into its relationships with Apple and Google.

“If you’re a very large company and supporting you is going to cost us tens of millions of dollars, then we want to at least have an understanding of how you’re going to use what we’re doing, and that you’re not just going to import the data but also try and contribute back to the ecosystem and make people’s Facebook experience better.”

In other words, if you’re big and want to play ball with Facebook, you can’t be a parasite.

As an example of a healthy relationship, Zuckerberg pointed to Zynga and other social gaming firms, with which Facebook has recently inked multi-year deals. The companies committed to develop games on Facebook, and in some cases, to exclusively using the Facebook Credits virtual currency.

“We build out tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure to support the games on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said.

Left unsaid was how Google’s interest in gaining access to Facebook’s social data, or Apple’s interest in leveraging Facebook users for its fledgling Ping social music service, would meet Zuckerberg’s criteria of contributing to the Facebook experience.

Zuckerberg’s roughly one-hour on-stage interview came a day after Facebook introduced a revamped messaging system that could further intensify the competition between Facebook and Google, which are both battling for Web surfer’s online time and for advertising dollars.

Zuckerberg also noted during his talk on Tuesday that more than 50 percent of the half-billion people on Facebook use the service every day.

And for those waiting to invest in Facebook by buying shares in an eventual public offering of the company’s shares, Zuckerberg has a piece of advice: Don’t hold your breath.

One comment

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Zuckerberg seems to have matured quickly. I agree fully with him, he has what both Apple and Google wants, and should let them in on his turf, only on his terms.

Google sells advertising – telling other people what they do not want to know and explain that what they consider lesser to be “better”.
Apple has technology and a congregation of loyal followers that they want expanded. Sorry, but the customers have accounts on Facebook, and are all already proud owners of an Internet access device. The access to the customer is what has value, court them and make them return. If you have to constrain them in any way or form, you will loose.

He does not have to discuss with Nokia, they make widgets that work on Facebook without any modifications, and effectively eliminates Google’s advertising. So, why should he change anything?

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