Facebook flotation 'years out', says Zuckerberg

Keep your $15bn, suckers

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Child-boss Mark Zuckerberg has told Silicon Valley's biggest web 2.0 circle-jerk that the imagined Facebook flotation they've been creaming over for months is still years away.

"I'm not saying it's never going to happen. But it's definitely years out," he told a packed house at the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Just about every large web corporation has been assumed to be hurling offers of cash at Facebook, so it doesn't need to offer public shares now to keep the books ticking over. In fact, letting Wall Street gawp at its inconsequential revenues probably doesn't appeal too much.

Front runner to take a small private stake is Microsoft, even though Steve Ballmer described the site as a "fad" on his recent visit to the UK. He then flew home to a meeting with Zuckerberg and his venture capital nannies.

At the Web 2.0 Summit, Zuckerberg said Facebook is "happy" with its current Microsoft relationship. At present, Microsoft exclusively pumps the site with display ads.

Widely-reported rumours say Facebook wants out of the deal, however, and to flog its own inventory. Letting Redmond in on the hype in exchange for removing the handcuffs and some pocket money makes plenty of sense. And seems imminent.

Also at the summit, MySpace boss Chris DeWolfe shared a sofa with Rupert Murdoch to unsurprisingly announce that his site would follow Facebook by offering an open development platform. Expect MySpacers to be hurling digital poo at each other "within a couple of months". More here ®

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