Will mobile save the traditional business models and kill the Internet?
Ever since I started working in the web business 12 years ago mobile has been heralded as the next big thing, which was just around the corner. Well, it seems like we have finally rounded that corner, because mobile is truly here!
But the funny thing is that I don’t think that much is going to change, because it turns out that the business models that worked in the online world also work in the mobile world and the business models that didn’t work in the online world seems to be working poorly as well in the mobile world. And maybe this is not so surprising after all – the mobile medium is a digital medium with the only difference that it has a smaller screen and a higher portability. These two factors affects the user interface and some of the apps that are relevant (Foursquare vs. World of Warcraft), but it doesn’t really change the underlying business model of digital media.
When Chris Anderson wrote his article about the dying web, he prophesized that mobile services such as Apple’s app store would spell the end of traditional digital business models. I don’t think this is true, because the business logic of digital media (information wants to be free) will eventually find its way into the realm of mobile apps as well. Apple may be enjoying a temporary near monopoly (or at least oligopoly) in the apps and tablet market, but there will be competitors in the future and eventually we will see that information also wants to be free in the mobile realm.
Here is an excerpt from his post:
For a while Apple has provided something that has looked like exclusivity and scarcity. They force everyone through their app store and they provide a transaction engine in that app store. Some have chosen to execute a paid content or a paid app business model in that app store. A few have buit interesting businesses with that model. Most have not.