Bet On Html 5 Kept Facebook From Entering Mobile Market Early

I was reading an article on BBC about Facebook’s future and came upon the reason why the social network got into the mobile market so late. BBC has the answer from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg:

“She [Sandberg] admitted that the company had been late to get its mobile operation right and had made plenty of mistakes. The firm got underway in 2004 just before the mobile internet revolution took off - Mr Zuckerberg has said if it had been a couple of years later, he would have started it as an app - and the transition over the past year had not been painless.”

That’s a confusing paragraph. The only thing I got from it is that team Zuckerberg started thinking about mobile way back in 2004. The next two quote clarifies things:

“We made a pretty big bet on HTML5, hoping we could build our applications once and it would work on all the different operating systems," Ms Sandberg said.

“But that had failed - and they had to start again building separate apps for Apple's iOS and Google's Android.”

Facebook’s execs thought they could just build the app in HTML5 because it has interactive features for desktop, mobile, and tablet browsers.

Unfortunately, HTML5 is still not mature and reliable enough for this task. It won’t become become an official W3 recommendation of Web standards until 2014. Even by then, Facebook would still have to wait another year or so before all browsers start to incorporate the web standard’s full capabilities.

In the end, it’s just a case of utilizing a new technology too early.

Sections:  note from the editor   
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