Following today’s introduction of Facebook Home, a new people-focused integration layer for Android devices, Fortune has published an interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in which he discusses a number of topics including the rivalry between Apple and Google in the mobile market.
In Zuckerberg’s view, the open nature of Google that has allowed Facebook to build Home offers a great opportunity for advances in the user experience that are considerably more difficult to achieve within iOS given Apple’s control over the platform.
I think that Google has this opportunity in the next year or two to start doing the things that are way better than what can be done on iPhone through the openness of their platform. We’d love to offer this on iPhone and we just can’t today. And we will work with Apple to do the best experience that we can within what they want, but I think that a lot of people who really like Facebook–and just judging from the numbers, people are spending a fifth of their time in phones on Facebook, that’s a lot of people. This could really tip things in that direction. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
Zuckerberg shared a similar sentiment with Wired, noting that the question of whether Facebook Home would be on iOS within two years was “above my pay grade”.
Android is growing quickly, and we’re excited that the platform is open and that it allows us to build these great experiences. I think that this is really good for Google too. Something like this could encourage a lot of people to get Android phones, because I think people really care about Facebook. In a lot of ways, this is one of the best Facebook experiences that you can get. Of course, a lot of people also love iPhones—I love mine, and I would like to be able to deliver Facebook Home there as well.
Apple and Facebook have at times had a strained relationship, as evidenced by difficulties related to Apple’s now-defunct Ping social networking feature in iTunes, although the two companies have recently been working more closely together with system-wide Facebook integration appearing in iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion.