Zuckerberg at eG8 – No Facebook phone

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Mark Zuckerberg made an appearance at the E-G8 Forum today in Paris. The largely PR-filled event created by French President Nicholas Sarkosy to address the effects the Internet is having on the G8′s agenda of globailsation witnessed possibly the softest interview Zuckerberg has ever had, and that’s saying something. Interviewer Maurice Levy, as head of Publicis, is a powerful man, but the interview was less than satisfying.

Despite this, Zuckerberg revealed a couple of things.

Significantly he appeared to kill any likelihood of a “Facebook phone”.

Asked by an audience member if Facebook will create devices, he said: “I think we get software development and social dynamics. But we’re focused on building really good experiences with these things.”

Almost glibly he continued: “We have a really good iPhone app for instance”. Really Mark, you don’t say?

But he also added that “Way more people are using the mobile Web version than apps.”

He repeated information that 300m-plus people are using Facebook on mobile phones and that this is growing much faster than Web use is.

This is not something we haven’t heard before, but the emphasis on apps and without a mention of devices is significant.

This is also consistent with the development of the INQ phone where Facebook was a collaborator on the software side.

However, Facebook has already partnered with some manufacturers on making phones with a heavy Facebook focus and branding. And they may well offer a Facebook-heavy mobile OS (probably based on Android). Which wouldn’t be a Facebook Phone, but rather a Facebook mobile OS other phone makers could use.

As far as the conference is concerned, Zuckerberg will meet the head of states of G8 tomorrow.

It’s significant that he flew in on the last day and will go to the “real” G8, since, by most accounts of people here, the eG8 has been something of an insignificant talking shop where the networking was generally better than the content on stage.

Zuckerberg also mentioned the importance of gaming to its platform, noting that Zynga has passed the market cap of Electronic Arts.

He also clarified that kids under the age of 13 were not currently allowed on Facebook and if that were to ever change they would have to think about it very hard first – and it was “Not top of the list” in priority.