Early in this decade, post-2000 recession, the mobile applications market had developed a reputational black eye– all sizzle, no steak. The promise of revenues, followed by profits had not materialized, despite much venture capital investment in the mobile space. The beginnings of GPS-enabled smart phones arrived, and slowly, the market started to deliver on it’s promise. The confluence of GPS-enbabled location-based capabilities, the introduction of Apple’s iPhone that brought ease of use to the consumer masses, and the rise of Web 2.0 now leviathans like Facebook and Twittter finally brought the mobile market to a rolling boil in 2007 and 2008, just before the last U.S. economic recession. What’s in store now that the economy seems to be thawing out, where is mobile headed next?
The challenge is getting the mobile landscape to stand still long enough to analyze it. It changes. Often. And fast. Domination of the mobile platform began with Palm early on, then to Blackberry, then Microsoft’s smart phone OS, only to be wrestled away by Apple’s iPhone, and most recently challenged by Google’s Android platform. Word has it that at a recent developers’ conference, developers could join any of 3 breakout groups divided by OS development platform– Apple, Android and Microsoft mobile OS. The largest group assembled in the Android breakout room, second largest in the Apple room, and Microsoft’s audience was, well…. intimate.
So, in such a turbulent marketplace, what soothsayers to listen to for credible framing of the mobile future? It turns out that it is none other than Mary Meeeker, newly minted venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins. For those who were around for the initial rise of the Internet in the late 1990′s, Mary Meeker rose in parallel to the popularity of the Internet as star industry research analyst for Morgan Stanley covering the Internet sector. I have a fond memory of watching Ms. Meeker work the stage, the audience, and the room at an Industry Standard conferene out at the Dana Point Ritz Carlton before the bubble burst. I should have known that a private fireworks display better than Boston’s annual 4th of July extravaganza that was put on especially for conference attendees was a jump-the-shark moment for the Internet.
However, Ms. Meeker has never been light on analysis. And her most recent run at foretelling the future of the mobile market sector is worth the read. She debuted it at the Google mobile conference in February. Although long (56 slides), it’s worth the gray matter investment. TechCrunch has reposted it, and highlighted what they felt the most impactful slides in the deck are. Check it out. Really good stuff.