updated 05:15 pm EDT, Wed October 21, 2009
Morgan Stanley sees Apple leading mobile
The iPhone and iPod touch are pushing the entire industry towards the mobile Internet, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker said at the Web 2.0 summit yesterday. With about 57 million of Apple's devices shipped since June 2007, their growth has not only been much more aggressive than landline Internet access in general but the entire home electronics industry. Three times as many iPhone-based devices exist as did AOL and Netscape users two years into their respective histories; Apple is also already outselling the Nintendo Wii despite its products coming half a year later.
The sharp increase is credited to the ease of using Internet access for apps and the web with Apple's platform and has already led to a collapse of the traditional cellular carrier business model. When the iPhone launched in 2007, 57 percent of UK mobile web traffic was to carrier portals that frequently discouraged heading elsewhere. That traffic has plummeted to 22 percent this year and has seen many customers instead visiting independent websites, such as Google.
As a result of Apple's sheer volume and impact, Meeker views Apple's market share and its influence growing quickly for at least the next one to two years, even compared to Android and other platforms that thrive on mobile data. The primary challenges to mobile Internet adoption are expected to stem from long-term competition as well as carrier restrictions. Carriers that continue to block certain mobile apps like VoIP and video streaming, or which charge excessive rates for data roaming, are likely to impact the growth of mobile data.