In line to enter the World Wide Developers Conference 2009
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
A decade ago, San Francisco’s trendy South of Market district was the birthplace of hundreds of web design firms that have since gone under or been swallowed by rivals.
Now it is the turn of the “app army“, the scores of companies devoted to churning out small programs known as applications that run on Apple’s iPhone and rival devices, as well as on regular computers for users of Facebook and similar websites…
Indeed, veteran industry executives, investors and analysts are calling the shift to internet-capable devices and the apps that run on them a once-a-decade leap in technology, on a par with the great personal computing boom of the 1980s and the debut of the World Wide Web in the 1990s.
“The ramp [growth rate] of the iPhone and iPod touch in the first eight or nine quarters is more than five times the ramp for the internet,” says Kathryn Huberty, Morgan Stanley tech analyst. These devices, and faster wireless networks, are both now reaching about a fifth of the global population, she estimates, which will drive much more rapid development : “Globally,” she says, “2010 is the tipping point.”
No company is more central to the shift towards the mobile internet than Apple, which enjoys a wide lead in distributing applications. More than 100,000 apps are available on its App Store and more than 2 billion have been downloaded in less than a year and a half.
To keep that gusher flowing, Apple has sought to inspire more outsider developers with the rare rags-to-riches stories — like that of Steve Demeter, a bank programmer who earned $250,000 in two months of 2008 after launching a simple game called Trism…
The advantages the bigger companies have over the smaller developers — scale, expertise and marketing know-how — mean there may not be any “app millionaires” in the years ahead, says Matt Murphy of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who runs a fund devoted to backing iPhone developers.
But small groups that have multiple successes will be pursued by bigger companies. “There will be teams of people who get a hit franchise acquired for north of $1 million,” Mr Murphy says.
Useful article. Beaucoup information.
As visionary as their leadership may be, this is a phenomenon that, after all, even surprised Apple.