TECH TALK: The Emerging Internet: The Next Google
Let us summarise the key points so far. My contention is that the next Internet what I call the Emerging Internet — will be built around mobiles, rather than PCs. It will be a window to the Live Web, rather than the Reference Web. Subscriptions, rather than Search, will be the way we will interface with the Live Web. Invertising, and not Advertising will be dominant business model in the Emerging Internet. And to take it one step further, the company that will dominate this new Internet will not be Google or one of the existing players.
If one looks at a bit of history, it is hard to find the leader of one era continue to dominate the next one. IBM dominated mainframes. Its leadership was usurped by Intel and Microsoft as the game shifted to personal computers. Yahoo first, and then Google, have dominated the landscape in the Internet era.
As the scene shifts to mobiles, its more than a change of screen sizes. How the device gets used changes. And so do business models. Microsoft makes its money from software which Google now gives away free. Google makes its money from advertising which helps in new customer acquisition for businesses. But as businesses build relationships with customers, the repeat business for companies like Google will lessen giving rise to new intermediaries, almost the anti-Google (just as Google is in many ways the anti-Microsoft which itself was the anti-IBM).
This may be hard to believe now given Googles dominance. But just 6-7 years ago, Googles current domination would have been impossible to believe. So, times change, and so does market leadership. For a new leader to emerge, many things have to go right and have plenty of luck. It also needs the courage to stand alone and not be tempted to sell out, however attractive the offers. It also needs to create an environment where it creates an ecosystem around itself thus making it a hub for new business activity.
I believe that emerging markets like India offer a great opportunity for giving rise to the new leader because they are where this new world built around mobiles, the Live Web, subscriptions and invertising will first emerge. Because shifts are going to happen on multiple dimensions, it will be hard for the existing leaders to match. Exciting times lie ahead as they have always! Innovation and entrepreneurship-led change is the only constant.