Facebook Investors Press Zuckerberg on Stock Price at Annual Meeting
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to tackle concerns about its stock head-on at the first annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, but investors pressed for answers about why the price is still down a year after the company went public.
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"The answer is we understand that a lot of people are disappointed with the performance of the stock, and we really are, too," Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks before taking questions.
But, he added, the last year has been an "exciting and challenging" period during Facebook's transition from a desktop-first to a mobile-first company.
The stock, priced at $38 when the company went public in May 2012, hit $17 a few months ago and was trading at about $24 in afternoon trading Friday. Facebook can't control the stock price but is focused on developing the best products to create more shareholder value, Zuckerberg said.
The strategy can be broken down into three main parts, according to the CEO.
One, Facebook is concentrating on building great mobile apps and experiences. Two, it is working to ensure that its platform is integrated into as many experiences and apps as possible. And three, the company aims to drive revenue that will continue to fuel innovation.
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"We don't think we are going to be only company in space, but we want to be the company building the best product," Zuckerberg said. "We think we are building a network that is the most valuable in the world."
It took Facebook nine years to build its current platform, he said. And while he anticipates fluctuations in the share price, the company is focused on long-term value, much of which will derive from mobile.
"On the mobile side, we have made a lot of progress in the last year," Zuckerberg said. "We rewrote completely our iOS and Android apps. We have more users and more people coming to the mobile app on any given day than on desktop. That's a big shift. ... The increased usage we are seeing is showing we are doing a good job."
Facebook now makes 30 percent of all of its ad revenue from mobile ads, a huge leap from a year ago, when it made nothing from mobile. And as of the last quarter, the company has more than 1 billion users, Zuckberberg said.
Zuckerberg said there is also strong potential for mobile products such as Facebook Home—a collection of apps that become the home screen of an Android device when downloaded. He said the company can increase the amount of time people spend on Facebook by introducing similar products.
Home, which launched earlier this year. is still being tweaked, he said. "Home is really the first version of Facebook built from the ground ... for mobile. Nobody is going to get it right the first time."
Shareholders voted to approve the four proposed items, including the re-election of board members Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Donald Graham, Marc Andreessen, Erskine Bowles, Reed Hastings, Peter Thiel and Susan Desmond-Hellmann. Jim Breyer announced his plans to step down in April.
By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.