One of the more puzzling aspects of Facebook’s mobile strategy in 2011 has been the lack of a Facebook iPad app. Turns out that the company has actually had an application almost ready to go since May, but a delay in actually launching that app has prompted the developer to quit Facebook and join Google.
Jeff Verkoeyen posted an item on his personal blog Monday morning discussing the unreleased Facebook iPad app, and his frustration with the delays in getting the app out the door. After several tech news sites noticed the blog post, Verkoeyen either pulled the post or the company hosting his blog didn’t have enough servers on hand to handle the incoming traffic. But according to reports, Verkoeyen expressed his dismay over the delays in his post and hinted that it contributed to his departure from the company.
It is now nearly 5 months since the app was feature complete and I haven’t seen it released except for when the project was leaked on Techcrunch. Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me. The experience of working on this app was a large contribution to the reasons why I left Facebook, though that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult decision.
Verkoeyen back-pedaled a bit on his Twitter feed after the story blew up, saying that “working at Facebook was an incredible experience for me.” But he wouldn’t get into the reasons why Facebook has held back the release of the app, passing up a golden opportunity last week at its f8 conference to highlight its mobile strategy.
But part of the reason for the iPad app delay and the near-silence on mobile in general is believed to be related to Facebook’s reported strategy of doubling down on HTML5 technologies to create mobile Web applications that aren’t hamstrung by platform constraints like Android fragmentation or Apple’s control of the App Store.