Esteemed Mobile Developer Joe Hewitt Leaves Facebook

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Notable mobile developer Joe Hewitt has left Facebook to pursue independent projects related to HTML 5 development.

From his blog:

“Today was my last day at Facebook. Normally when I leave a job I go out cursing the management and wishing I had left much sooner. In the case of Facebook, I sent heartfelt emails to all of my managers thanking them for the privilege of letting me work there, and I genuinely meant it. Facebook was the longest I ever worked at one company, and the best employer I’ve ever had.”

We had heard that he was working on deeply integrating Facebook into Android after he quit the iPhone team over disagreement with Apple’s policies. Hewitt was responsible for creating Facebook’s iPhone app, which is currently the most downloaded iPhone app of all time, and before the existence of the App Store he created an iPhone website that was also widely admired among the developer community.

Hewitt has been with Facebook for four years, so why leave now? Maybe he thinks it’s the right time to help the web move towards HTML 5? Or maybe the terms of his Parakey deal (Facebook’s first acquisition) have fully vested?

Here’s Mike’s interview with Hewitt from when he first joined Facebook in 2007.

Update: When I asked him both these questions on the phone after this post went up, Hewitt said, “Yes, to the former.” He also tells me that his Parakey co-founder Blake Ross is still at the company, and on a leave of absence, despite reports to the contrary.