Apps – Not so Fast

The internets are abuzz with the reverb from the presentation by Forrester's George Colony at Le Web, with his three thunderstorms proclamation, one of which is that the apps universe has a lot more momentum than the network dependent internet/cloud model, primarily because processing and storage capacity growth outpaces network growth.

I agree with the premise, but really find the "internet's dead, long live the app" hype a bit exaggerated.  The app's are not a new phenomenon. In fact, the PC paradigm was based on the app model: executable code processing real time locally.  The apps of today are getting all the attention mainly thanks to Apple's phenomenal innovations on mobile computing interfaces: namely the iPhone and the iPad.  Apple's led the way to take the advantage of i/o and design innovations, and other tech co's are just following suit.  

And what makes the apps more than just updated desktop applications, is the seamless way they interact with the cloud and the data on other devices and the cloud.  In fact, I think the current app paradigm, which keeps data in tubes (i.e. not easily accessible like HTLM), has an achilles heel.

What has made the web the most powerful computing advent to date is its openness and neutrality.  The apps either have to find a way to make themselves permeable, or go the way of the dodo.  The apps have unfortunately broken the internet, while bringing us fantastic user experience.  Now disrupters need to find ways to open them up.  Whether Apple likes it or not.

Going back to Colony's death of internet meme, I found it to be a bit short-sighted, with smart analysis of a very short period of trends and data. I plan to write a bit more about his two other points soon:  social saturation and enterprise.

By the way, there are quite a few people who thing that HTML5 will bridge the app usability and internet network effects.  I have not got my arms around HTML5 enough to opine on this, but quite excited to see the innovations on that front.

For those interested, there's a good debate in the comments on Fred Wilson's A VC.

UPDATE: I just got sent a link to a good post by Dave Winer on the same topic.

Here's Colony's presentation from Le Web:


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