Roger McNamee is a pretty interesting character in the digital world and a rare sight in a world filled with 18-year kids on caffeine. Over the years he seems to have got pretty wise to emerging trends and has advised a great many companies successfully. Now in his mid-fifties you might have thought he would sit back and take a back seat.
Nope. In July this year he publicly announced the end of search and the death of Microsoft. The video is superbly exciting, well-informed and offers an all too rare perspective on the role of emerging technology.
A self-confessed Apple lover, Flash hater (Ed:ace!) and believer that HTML5 is the greatest thing since Google started to own the web 10 years ago. He’s evangelical about the iPad and iPhone as devices because of their massive adoption rate and where Microsoft once had 96% control of internet connected devices, it now has just 50% because the growth of mobile is replacing the old PC era. That’s a scary number for Microsoft, losing nearly half of your influence in just 3 years.
Google, meanwhile, has captured 80% of the index search business from which it then went onto top controlling the web advertising market. But at a price as “Google’s success eventually filled the web with crap, so consumers began using other products to search: Wikipedia for facts, Facebook for matters of taste, time or money, Twitter for news, Yelp for restaurants, Realtor.com for places to live, LinkedIn for jobs. Over the past three years, these alternatives have gone from 10% of search volume to about half,” said McNamee.
As the “crap” built up other companies stepped into the space to provide a better, more focussed, search experience which also had the advantage of external branding. Until the birth of Facebook, Wikipedia et al your search results were, in essence, Google branded so big brands struggled to appear over the flotsam and jetsam of spammers and the product of bent SEO companies.
As Roger goes on to say “As if all this competition wasn’t bad enough for Google, then along came Apple with the iPhone and App Store… Apple has branded, trustworthy apps for everything. If they want news, Apple customers use apps from the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. If they want to know which camera to buy, they ask friends on Facebook. If they want to go to dinner, they use the Yelp app. These searches have economic value and it’s not going to Google, even on Android…When Apple and the app model win, Google’s search business loses.”
But it does’t stop there. Roger goes onto say that HTML5 offers a better experience than Apple’s App model and it far cheaper to develop and deploy so could spell the end of the App Store.
The video is 10 minutes long, the presentation slides are so-so, I suggest you listen to it when you are doing your expenses, or making a brew.