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The ‘Next Major Computing Cycle’ will change everything

October 22nd, 2009

Internet Evolution site editor Nicole Ferraro shares a compelling story from the floor of the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Nicole reports that Morgan Stanley‘s managing director, Mary Meeker says that over the next few years the mobile Web will be “bigger than most people think.” In fact, she’s calling it “the next major computing cycle,” and says mobile-related technology shifts will change all the dynamics between incumbents and attackers, and will create a wide range of winners and losers.

mobileinternetMeeker presented 68 slides, starting with an economy update / dashboard. Included were positive leading indicators like rebounding global stock markets, narrowing credit spreads, reduced market volatility, and rising earnings estimates.

The technology sector (as has been previously noted in this blog), Meeker says, is leading the charge back to financial health as the largest sector measured by S&P 500 market capitalization (19%). She also showed how global technology revenue estimates mimic the 2002 recovery that followed the tech nadir of 2001.

Now granted, when Meeker turns to domestic GDP and consumption, she is only able to call the trends “less bad,” and she does say that low capacity utilization in manufacturing, horribly low home sales, rising consumer credit and mortgage defaults, and high unemployment all imply economic weakness.

But unemployment peaks are typically key for economic turnarounds, Meeker says, and global GDP growth forecasts, led by China and India, are positive for 2010. Advertising spending, too, should grow in 2010, and consumer confidence seems to have bottomed out in February and has been heading up all year.

Then Meeker turned to the promise of the mobile Internet. And Meeker is bullish like crazy about mobile Internet! Driven, she says, by unprecedented next-generation-platform-induced changes in communication and commerce, mobile-related share shifts will “create/destroy material shareholder wealth.” YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are well noted. And not shockingly, the poster child for the uptake of mobile devices on IP-based networks is iPhone/iTouch usage (“fastest hardware user growth in consumer history” ).

The next big thing in computing follows a logical evolution, Meeker illustrates by slide 32. Increasing levels of integration will provide an incredible opportunity in semiconductors, hardware, software, and services as the rate of mobile Internet adoption makes desktop Internet adoption look so last-century. This statement I particularly loved: “Mobile devices will evolve as remote controls for ever expanding types of real-time cloud-based services…empowering consumers in unprecedented and transformative ways.”

Quoting from Mathew Honan in Wired magazine’s January issue, Meeker shares this: “Millions of people are now walking around with a gizmo in their pocket that not only knows where they are, but also plugs into the Internet.” Heavy mobile data users will triple to more than 1 billion by the end of 2013 (AT&T alone has had a 50x increase in mobile data traffic in the past 3 years).

These are exciting times for technology makers, marketers, and users. My passion for, and faith in technology has kept me bullish throughout the downturn, and I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for what’s coming as we turn this innovation economy skyward once again.

The full set of slides from Meeker’s presentation are available here, and are worth going through in their entirety.

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Steve Schuster Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,

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