Facebook shakes up engineering team to accelerate mobile efforts


Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) said it has shaken up its engineering staff as it continues to shift its social networking platform from the desktop to mobile devices.

"We've retooled the company to build faster on mobile," Facebook Director of Product Management Peter Deng said Thursday during a media briefing at the company's Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters. According to Deng, Facebook has now integrated mobile engineers into all of its product teams--in the past, the firm maintained separate engineering staffs dedicated expressly to products like mobile, messaging and photo sharing. "Slowly, over time, we are making everyone a mobile engineer," he said.

Earlier this week, Facebook Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is working on a native application for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android to match its newly revamped app for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, admitting the company's previous reliance on HTML5-based mobile experiences was a serious tactical error. Facebook Product Manager Mick Johnson expanded on Zuckerberg's comments, saying that using HTML5 allowed the social network to build a mobile interface capable of running across a variety of devices and operating systems but resulted in a level of performance that "wasn't what our users expected" and "wasn't what we were happy with, either."

In the weeks since Facebook introduced its native iOS app, its average App Store user rating has leaped from two stars to four. "Internally, we are psyched," Johnson said. "This is really just the start of the road for us. There are many things we want to do."

Facebook's Director of Developer Products Doug Purdy said the company nevertheless remains bullish on HTML5: Its HTML5-based mobile website attracts more than 300 million users a month, enabling the company to connect with consumers on operating systems other than iOS and Android. "HTML5 is great to give us reach because most devices have some kind of Web browser," Purdy said. "We are building native applications for Android and iOS, but we can't build for all the devices that exist."

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