Dissecting the state of the Internet

I had a chance to follow a link this morning to a presentation called, The State of the Internet by the Founder and CEO of Business Insider, Henry Blodget. Beyond the fact that it has 138 slides, it had some very interesting things to put forward about our 20-year-old Internet.

To save you some time (but I still recommend you take a look), here are the highlights with my own commentary added in italics:

  • 2+ billion people are online, but 2/3 of the world still isn’t connected. Yes, the easiest connections (the Developed World) are established, but there will be a great deal of increased usage even in the poorest parts of the world. Mobile technologies will be the biggest enablers of more connections.
  • Despite the democratizing themes of the online world, power is in a few hands like Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook (about 98% in those four). Unfortunately, that’s how the world generally works…people like to bet on a few good horses. With how inexpensive it is to start company, however, there’s great hope for smaller companies to launch and take their piece, just as Facebook did.
  • Print media is dead, TV is likely next to be killed off. The disruption of TV is only waiting for a generational change and a move by the major broadcasters into online. It will take both. Paywalls like the New York Times and LA Times may be a last-ditch effort.
  • Facebook is doing better than recent news would indicate, but won’t beat Google. The stock is much lower but the IPO expectations were ridiculous. I’m holding onto my shares that I picked up at $18.
  • Portals are dead and social media is holding the smoking gun. Yahoo needs to reinvent itself to survive.
  • E-commerce is rising but still very small. It holds great promise but the sheer magnitude of existing brick and mortar means it will take a while for a more substantial shift.
  • Smartphones outsell PC’s…and PC’s are flat. Tablets are almost entirely Apple’s game. There is danger to Microsoft in these numbers…maybe not right now but not too far off, either. Even technology-rich companies are making the shift to Apple.
  • Older and poorer are the greatest limiting factors for mobility. As prices come down, the poorer part will be served but older will only grow slowly until that segment of the population isn’t a factor.
  • Mobile is being used as a platform, not just when disconnected from a desk. People do everything now on mobile devices, including gaming, which has had very fast growth. It is surprising how much the younger generation is willing to do on a mobile device as a trade for geographic freedom.
  • Monetization of mobile lags the desktop, perhaps because of screen size (but just getting started). There’s an enormous amount of promise as new ways come to the market that aren’t hampered by screen size (the current obstacle).
  • Apps will hit 45 billion downloads by year’s end and are outpacing the mobile web. The speed and simplicity of apps gives them a very big advantage over mobile web that may change with more use of HTML5, but that’s still coming along slowly (witness: Facebook reverted from HTML5 to an iOS app because of performance issues).
  • Android is bigger globally, but Apple dominates app revenue. Android has grown fast with lower prices and free apps, but that’s not a winning combination in the long haul.

I left the slide show believing that mobile is untapped (not a new idea just one week after Mobility Week), that a few companies will continue to fight it out over the vast majority of customers, and that the world is in for great changes as the rest of the people come online.

Very interesting times and a great time to be in technology.

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Categories: Apps, Disruption, Innovation, Mobility, Social / Collaboration

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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  1. Money for nothing and the clicks for free | Successful Workplace - October 21, 2012

    […] Internet is coming up on 20 years soon and there will be an enormous amount of analysis on how it changed the world. There’s no doubt that it connected, globalized, outsourced, and […]

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