Shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) soared more than 12% after hours when the social network reported revenue and earnings that beat estimates:


Q3 2012 Estimate

Q3 2012 Actual

Q3 2011

Actual Growth (YOY)

Earnings per share






$1,230 million

$1,262 million

$954 million


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

But the beat wasn't the story, mobile was. Facebook answered critics in reporting a 61% increase in the number of active users accessing the service via a handheld device each month. Mobile also accounted for 14% of all advertising revenue in Q3.

"As proud as I am that a billion people use Facebook each month, I'm also really happy that over 600 million people now share and connect on Facebook every month using mobile devices," CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a press release (link opens PDF).

The mobile gains come months after a complete rebuild of Facebook's app for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) popular range of iOS devices. Previously, the company toyed with plans to compete with the Mac maker via its own smartphone and a Web-based version of Facebook built specifically to circumvent the App Store.

Other figures of note:

  • Non-GAAP operating income rose 8.5% to $525 million.
  • Facebook hosted 584 million daily active users in September, a 28% year-over-year increase.
  • Monthly active users rose to 1.01 billion over the same period, a 26% improvement.
  • Operating cash flow fell 56% from $565 million to $250 million.

Finally, in related news: social-game maker Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), which relies heavily on Facebook for its revenue, reported plans to cut 5% of its workforce and reduce its investment in controversial game The Ville. In August, the game became the subject of a copyright infringement suit brought by Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) The suit claims Zynga poached three top executives for the express purpose of gaining the intelligence required to rip off EA's The Sims Social. Zynga has since counter-sued, claiming "unlawful business practices," and then last week sued a former employee for allegedly swiping trade secrets.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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