Mobile Web – A Completely New Ball Game

    January 26, 2007

Rich Skrenta feels that it’s time for the Winner To Take All. Google has won in what he calls the Third Age of Computing.

IBM and Microsoft were in that position in the two prior Computing Ages, but now Google owns the Internet. David Beisel is not convinced and feels a Fourth Age of Computing is on the way where Google will need to get involved in a new ball game. That new ball game is the Mobile Web.

The Mobile Web has even greater economic potential than the traditional Web as visited by desktop PCs. .. and despite the best efforts of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with its Mobile Web Initiative, it may not end up as they would wish as One Web. There is a fundamental disconnect between agreeing Standards and competing in a fast moving technology where there are mega-bucks at stake. If in addition, the Standards are tough to apply in order to achieve that One Web, then in practice it may not work out even if many would wish to apply the Standards.

The other factor is that many involved have lived through the Internet tidal wave and may see all this from their Desktop PC perspective. That One Web should just spread out so that it becomes the Ubiquitous Web. Doesn’t that seem a natural evolution to follow? Well natural evolution is fine provided we don’t run into a disruptive technology that changes all the ground rules. It may even be so cataclysmic that it deserves the title, transformational technology. Some observers would apply that description to the whole Mobile world.

That is at the heart of Mobile Persuasion @ Stanford University with its tagline, “Changing people’s beliefs & behaviors with mobile technology”. Cameron Moll summarizes another very important article by Tomi T Ahonen entitled, “Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users“. That would certainly confirm that Mobile Phones represent a transformational technology. Ahonen’s final paragraph points out the urgency in all this.

Whatever your business or interest, going mobile now will give you a competitive advantage. But going mobile next year will be a desperation move to stay in the game. Don’t miss out on this. Mobile is the biggest opportunity going. Where is your business? Where is your mobile strategy?

The fact that Google may have been the winner in the Third Age of Computing is no guarantee of success in a completely changed world. There are already some powerful entities in the Mobile world. Google may already be Celling Out (free subscription required), but that doesn’t yet seem to be showing results. Even a Google-positive article, Hooked on Google (free subscription required) showing Google is leaving Microsoft in the dust, had a sting in the tail.

In brand new areas, like mobile devices that connect to the Internet, Microsoft is holding its own against Google. According to Telephia, a research firm, 3.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers are visiting Microsoft’s mobile Web sites, compared to 3.5 percent for Google.

But even in this area, Microsoft is still No. 2. Kanishka Agarwal, vice president of mobile content for Telephia, said Yahoo is No. 1 with 5.9 percent of subscribers due to the popularity of Yahoo mail.

It will be interesting to see what develops during 2007 in this fast-changing Mobile world.


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Barry Welford, President of SMM Strategic Marketing Montreal works with business owners and senior management on Internet Marketing strategy and action plans to grow their companies. He is a moderator at the Cre8asite Forums and writes on current issues on the Internet and on the Mobile Web in three blogs, BPWrap, StayGoLinks and The Other Bloke’s Blog.