Facebook is not launching a mobile phone, but it does want to help ignite local online advertising.
During a press event today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bluntly shot down rumors of a Facebook phone with a simple “No.”
According to Zuckerberg, the company already reaches 200 million mobile users across the globe—up from 65 million a year ago. In short, there is little need to launch a stand-alone phone when Facebook can develop platforms and applications across numerous devices like the iPhone and various Android phones.
Instead, the company is looking to pour its efforts into its recently launched Foursquare knockoff Facebook Places by partnering with various local businesses. The plan is to encourage Facebook users to search out local deals at coffee shops, pizza places and bars, which they can redeem by checking in via Places.
The company has signed deals with a slew of big retailers and restaurant chains to participate in the new local deals initiative. Among the participating companies are American Eagle Outfitters, which is offering 20 percent off on certain items for shoppers who check in with Facebook Places; The Gap, which is giving away jeans to 10,000 visitors; and Chipotle, H&M, Macy’s, McDonald’s and Starbucks.