So Mark Zuckerberg has admitted to having “burned two years” betting on the wrong technology – the mobile web.  The Facebook CEO, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt said betting on an HTML 5 powered mobile web was his company’s “biggest mistake”.

What the Facebook should have done, according to Zuckerberg, was develop native apps – apps that build on smartphone platforms – iOS and Android.  But the company, which has lost $63bn of market capitalisation since its initial IPO market cap of $104bn ($104bn – $41bn = $63bn) , said it’s back on track now – with a (finally) half-decent iOS app, a new Android app soon to be launched.

And with the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 today – we see Facebook is baked into the new iOS 6 powering the smartphone

  • Single sign on for Facebook
  • Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos
  • Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts
  • Facebook notifications in Notification Center

Zuckerberg emphasised that the future of Facebook is mobile “We are a mobile company now” he asserted. Interesting.  Apart from mobile advertising, Facebook appears to see its future in human search. It would make back-to-basics sense for an app that started out as a ‘trombinoscope’ directory service.

If the value of the social web is all about smart social learning – learning from other people’s experience, rather than your own – what can social commerce learn from Zuckerberg’s $63bn mistake? Well. Google’s Eric Schmitt might have been right when he said “put your best people on mobile“, but it’s where on mobile you put them that matters – apps not the mobile web.

Time to re-read the Wired Classic – The Web is Dead (the Future is Apps)?

The Bigger they Come, The Harder they Fall.