Mary Meeker: The Tech Evolution Is Intensifying

Monday, 10 Dec 2012 08:01 AM

By John Morgan

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Internet analyst Mary Meeker released new data showing a changing of the tech guard and a Darwinian survival of the fittest — Microsoft is being eclipsed by Apple, while Google’s Android system is showing even more remarkable worldwide growth.

Meeker, whose annual “State of the Internet” report is widely followed in Silicon Valley and beyond, validated the notion that smartphones are a transformative phenomenon. But the disruption they represent to the communications chain may be just beginning.

Her data show a dramatic shift away from Windows-powered Intel machines (Wintel) in less than a decade.

Editor's Note: Prophetic Economist Warns: “It’s Curtains for America.” See Evidence.

“Apple drove a wedge into the Wintel monopoly, but its Google’s Android OS [operating system] that’s really eating Microsoft’s lunch,” VentureBeat said of the report.

Since the fourth quarter of 2010, Meeker reported, combined shipments of tablets and smartphones have exceeded the number of personal computers (PCs_ shipped. The impact on Microsoft’s fortunes is still emerging, but the current trends apparently show no sign of stopping.

Overall, there are 5 billion mobile phone users worldwide, but only 1 billion smartphone users. That means companies such as Apple, Google and Samsung have a lot of overhead potential.

And while Apple’s iPhone started the smartphone revolution, Meeker said Google’s Android system is being adopted six times faster than Apple’s iOS is.

The most dismal development for Microsoft is that its share of PCs has dived from about 95 percent in 2005 to an estimated 35 percent in 2012, replaced by the non-PC devices of Apple and Google’s Android, which together now account for a 45 percent share of all operating systems, Meeker’s report said.

The Los Angeles Times stated that those figures offer a “glimpse of why Microsoft is rushing to reinvent itself and Intel is struggling with the transition to a mobile marketplace.”

Meanwhile, MarketWatch reported the data suggest Apple may have difficulty creating a bigger hit than the iPad. Meeker compared shipments of iPods, iPhones and iPads during their first 10 quarters after launch and found that iPhone shipments dwarfed the iPods that came before them, and then the iPad shipments grew three times faster than iPhones.

“The trouble with exponential growth is, it gets harder and harder to top, at least profitably,” MarketWatch concluded.

Other revealing data from the report show 48 percent of U.S. children aged 6 to 12 want an iPad for the holidays and 29 percent of American adults own a tablet or e-reader, up from less than 2 percent three years ago.

Meeker, now a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, offered a closing note: “This cycle of tech disruption is materially faster and broader than prior cycles.”

Editor's Note: Prophetic Economist Warns: “It’s Curtains for America.” See Evidence.

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