Did Mark Zuckerberg Disconnect Facebook Phone Rumors Once And For All?

By David Cohen 

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has attempted over and over to squash speculation about a Facebook phone, and he offered his strongest denial to date during the social network’s fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday.

Responding to a question from Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets for more details about mobile-specific products and features Facebook planned to introduce in 2013, Zuckerberg said:

In terms of new experiences, I think the big theme that we are going to push on mobile is that people keep on asking if we’re going to build a phone, and we are not going to build a phone, right, because it’s not the right strategy for us to build one integrated system where — so let’s say we sold 10 million units, that’d be 1 percent of users, who cares for us, right? The big thing for us is that we have 1 billion people using our products, and we need to make Facebook really good across all of the devices they use, and we’re going to keep on pushing to get more integrated with the system.

When Facebook is a product that people are spending almost 20 percent of their time or more on phones using, it really should be, and I think people want it to be, very integrated into all of the different devices that they have, and that’s what we’re going to focus on. So rather than just building an application that’s a version of the functionality that you have today, I think making it so that we can do — go deeper and deeper, I think is going to be a big focus for us.

Despite repeated denials by Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives about the development of a Facebook phone, rumors to that effect continue to resurface, most recently including speculation that Facebook’s Jan. 15 press event, at which the social network announced graph search, was being held to introduce a Facebook-branded device.

Other previous Facebook phone rumors that turned out to be unfounded included the HTC Opera UL last November, an unnamed device from HTC last July, and yet one more HTC phone, code-named Buffy, in November 2011.

Readers: Did Zuckerberg’s comments Wednesday finally put to rest rumors of a Facebook phone?

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