The new Mary Meeker/Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Report

21 Dec 2009|Leigh Marinner

Once again, this group has given us an excellent, thoughtful analysis of why this change to the mobile internet is so significant – the Mobile Internet Report. The ideas that most impressed me are:
1) Ten years of usage and monetization models in Japan provide one roadmap for the rest of the world.
2) The US has grabbed leadership after being a mobile laggard for years.
3) This is an epic transformation which will shift the face of computing and communication on a similar scale as Windows and the iPhone. The drivers are adoption of 3G, awesome mobile devices, social networking, video and VoIP. We should expect many current leaders to falter (but not Apple because of the depth of its app ecosystem and user experience).
4) Apple’s mobile device/ecosystem ramp has been the fastest in history.
5) Smartphone penetration will stress carrier data networks (subject of my blog last week). Offloading to WiFi will play a big role as will tiered data pricing.
6) More users will likely connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within 5 years.

The report states that it is unclear whether the mobile internet will develop in a fragmented, open way as did the desktop internet, or with closed platforms as in the mainframe and PC eras. I read that as code for whether Apple will dominate with a closed platform, or whether Google’s Android will prevail with its vision of opening up the mobile internet to consumer choice. As information is democratized / decentralized, users will increasingly be in control, and I think the Google model may win out. However, history has shown that the platform with the most applications generally wins.

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