Don Dodge let go from Microsoft, and currently Google employee blogs on the Platform shift to Mobile.
MARCH 04, 2010
Platform shifts Mainframe to Mini to PC to Mobile. Why leaders fail to make the shift
Platform shifts happen every decade or so in computing. The leaders of the previous generation are rarely successful in dominating the next generation platform. IBM dominated the mainframe business. They didn’t lose their dominance because another company built a better mainframe. They lost it because the market shifted to a new platform…Mini computers. Digital Equipment, Data General, and a few others dominated that market. Another platform shift is happening today, from PCs to Mobile devices, and another industry leader will be left behind. John Herlihy of Google Europesays “In three years time desktops will be irrelevant”
The issues for Innovator's Dillemma are referenced.
Why do leaders fail to adapt? The Innovators Dilemma, made famous by Clayton Christensen, clearly explains why market leaders fail to make the leap. Innovation usually happens at the low end of the market where the products are simple, prices are low, margins thin, and the market totally undefined. The industry leaders have great margins, high prices, and customers who want more features and are willing to pay for them. The industry leaders always move up market and leave the new emerging market to smaller innovators. The process usually follows these 6 steps;
- The disruptive technology is discovered, often by the market leading company.
- Marketing people seek reactions from customers and industry analysts.
- Established companies decide it is a better strategy to speed up the pace of sustaining technical advancement in their own product rather than go down market with the disruptive technology.
- Start-ups learn about the disruptive technology and see opportunity. They keep their cost structure low, build the technology, and find new markets through trial and error.
- The start-ups get some initial success and then move up market and eat away customers from the market leading company.
- The market leading company finally jumps on the bandwagon reluctantly with a half hearted attempt and fails. It is too late.
Morgan Stanley's Mary Meeker is referenced.
Platform shifts have 10X the number of devices and users. The move to Mobile is big and fast. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley says Mobile Internet usage is bigger than most people think, and it is exploding. Every platform shift has 10X the number of devices and users. There were about 1M mainframes, 10M mini-computers, 100M PCs, and 1 Billion cell phones. The next wave of mobile devices will be over 10B.
Mary Meeker's report has lots of good information in it.
Note the fast growth of Mobile Internet compared to other technologies
And, she makes the point I have seen few make which is spot on. The growth of real-time wireless sensors.
I was talking to a Google developer brainstorming some mobile scenarios, and he laughed when i was going three steps beyond his ideas. When we both worked at Microsoft we were talking about GPS data with photos in 2001, and people thought we were crazy - "that's too expensive and what would you do with GPS coordinates." Make money!!!!
Google is all over this scenario.
What is the new publishing and distribution network for Mobile?
The Mobile's phone capabilities are less important and some young users look at phone calls as people who aren't with it.