Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says the Apple iPad "is not mobile."
Today, at Facebook HQ, as the company unveiled a handful of new mobile tools for developers and other partners, Zuckerberg was asked when the company would finally produce an iPad app. "So, the iPad has been out for a while. And this is a mobile event. Are you building an iPad app, and if so, when is it going to be in our hands?" his questioner said.
"The iPad is not mobile," Zuckerberg answered. "Next question. "
His audience responded with the sort of loud noise an audience responds with when someone suddenly insults someone else.
"It's not mobile," he said, with more than a little incredulity. "It's a computer."
"I think Apple would disagree with you," his questioner said.
"Oh, sorry," Zuckerberg, with more than a little sarcasm.
Cue laughter and a little applause.
But as Facebook mobile vp Erick Tseng took Zuckerberg's microphone, the CEO clearly regretted his brief iPad exchange. He turned the sort of color someone turns when they suddenly regret insulting someone else.
"I'm just going to add-on to that," Tseng said, as the room guffawed again.
He added that at the moment, there are two ways to access Facebook from your iPad: www.facebook.com and touch.facebook.com, its touch-friendly website for, well, smartphones. "The bigger concern is actually this: it's not just about iPad. It's about a new class of devices, something with a 10-inch display and a tablet form factor. So there's a bigger question at hand: how do we tap into this new category? It's just a matter of time before we start seeing similar things coming from Android and potentially other platforms.
"So there's a broad question of how do we scale for a tablet form factor, in a way that doesn't lock us into one platform."
Zuckerberg — still a very dark shade of red — then took the microphone back. "I didn't mean to be rude towards Apple," he said. "We all love Apple products here, and we want to work with them and all that. I just want to keep the event focused on what we're doing today. The iPad is not a mobile platform in the same way a phone is."
OK. But it's good to know that Mark Zuckerberg is still Mark Zuckerberg. ®