No wonder Microsoft is nervous and anxious lately. It did not become a giant overnight. It did not get to where it is by being dumb. It is staffed with highly intelligent people who have their finger on the pulse of content and data consumption, and all these point to a troubling conclusion for companies like Microsoft. That conclusion is that most of the content consumption growth on the internet is being done over mobile devices and not on websites. The web is growing sideways while mobile growth is exploding.
This has serious consequences not just for software makers like Microsoft, but obviously for hardware makers like Apple as well. This trend also casts a long shadow in what kind of software tools and applications are going to be made, what they would look like and how they would work. In terms of e-commerce and other highly commercialized ventures online, this is a key eye opener. There are many ways to interpret this data gleaned from Alexa, Quantcast and comScore. The bottom line is the closer you are to mobile, the better off you are.
That is why Instagram and Foursquare, being completely mobile natives, stand to gain the most from this trend. The big losers for this mobile transition are, no surprise Facebook, and big surprise Google. Facebook does not give much real estate to mobile apps. Its best shot is its sponsored news items. On the other hand, the only reason Google is making money off mobile devices is because of web searches done through that mobile device. There are no mobile native applications.
As we have reported earlier, Google has appointed one of its key advertising head honchos to lead Motorola mobility. This is a move that is obviously aimed more towards monetizing that mobile platform than anything else. The trend towards mobile is not one directional. There are some tradeoffs. While mobile allows truly explodes access and convenience, it is not feature rich. There are not many bells and whistles from the mobile experience, at least not currently. That is why very feature rich websites like Google and Facebook lose out. Mobile tends to favor more specific actions and smaller and lighter services. That is why some observers are saying that Facebook should, for its mobile presence, break up its many features into shallower apps so that they are easier to use while all tying in to the Facebook experience and Facebook brand. Also, e-commerce stands to evolve some more when it comes to mobile access. E-commerce works well if it is tightly integrated. It falls off when it is hard to integrate into the mobile experience. This is one reason why free apps with premium upsells do so well on mobile. They hook people through their smaller programs and more tightly focused features and nudge people to pay for upgrades.
Mobile is here to stay. Its share of content consumption market continues to explode. It is no wonder PC sales are dipping while tablet sales are going up. It is a brave new world. Expect more changes in the future and this will impact all the players involved.