The future of the Internet is no longer taking place on the desktop or laptop
Across Silicon Valley, companies like Google and Facebook are waking up and realizing that the future of the Internet is no longer taking place on the desktop or laptop – it is taking place on the tablet and smartphone. As a result, there has been a huge land grab in 2012 to control the future evolution of the mobile Internet. Facebook’s recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram is just the latest sign that the social networking paradigm that we’ve learned to “like” is nearly over. The jig is up. You can look at nearly every significant tech deal of the past 60 days through this prism – the Instagram acquisition, the Path deal, Microsoft’s billion-dollar patent deal with AOL, the Google-Oracle legal dust-up over the Android operating system – as a desperate attempt to monetize those tiny screens in the palm of your hand.
For better or worse, we now live in a world of networks, platforms and operating systems that connect together our digital devices. In the best of all possible worlds, you own the network, you own the platform and you own the operating system: you have yourself a nice little ecosystem. That’s easier said than done. In fact, only Apple has really done this well, and that’s why the company is the most valuable in the world right now, at nearly $600 billion in market cap. To a lesser extent, companies like Google and Amazon have patched together ecosystems. Not surprisingly, Facebook is concerned – it’s got a network, but it doesn’t have a popular operating system and it surely doesn’t have the wherewithal to start cranking out digital devices.
That’s why tech patent portfolios are worth hundreds of millions of dollars these days. It’s because they are increasingly central to the future of how all of our digital devices connect to each other. If you don’t already own a digital ecosystem, you may have to litigate to create one (or hold on to one). In the case of Samsung and Apple, the patent wars are over the devices themselves. In the case of Google and Oracle, it’s over the operating system that runs these devices. Remember how Google plunked down over $12 billion for Motorola Mobility last year? That too, was part of a broader effort to control the future of the mobile Internet. Google handsets that run Android are the competitive answer to Apple iPhones that run iOS.
via Big Think – Dominic Basulto ᔥ
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