Has Apple changed the Web?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

Safari has become my browser of choice, what is the reason?
Reader. If you are not familiar with this new feature, it collates all of an article
into one reader page. It strips out all the ‘distractions’, gets all the pages and presents them as one clean easy to digest piece!

So simple yet so powerful, no more page clicks, pop-ups, surprise video or audio content, no colour and movement in your peripheral vision to distract from the core article you are reading. In addition, Apple is saying that with iOS5, when you bookmark the reader page, the bookmark is automatically sync’ed to all your devices.  So when you leave home, you carry on reading on your iPhone, then on the train switch to the iPad and finally finish on your desktop machine… all with no distractions. Who wouldn’t want to use this?

Now here is what I’ve realised. I think those ‘distractions’ contribute a great deal to the value of the ‘traditional web’ companies, i.e. how much of Google’s $160billion market cap are because of those things that ‘reader’ now removes? The current economic model for the net is basically impressions and click throughs, no impressions and no way to click.. so no more advertising? If there is not going to be advertising on the web, then we will need to move to a user-pays model across the board! Anyone see that happening?

Perhaps not, so the alternative is that the advertising revenue is moving from the page to the edge-device. As the world moves away from the browser is everything to the app based end-user experience. So the financial model that the web survives on has to change as well, and it has begun.. download any ‘free’ app today and you are more than likely bombarded with adverts.

So maybe now I understand better why the big players like Microsoft and Google are working so hard to capture a share of the end-user device market. This is the new battleground for the advertising dollar. Well perhaps when Steve Jobs said in his recent keynote that they were demoting the desktop/laptop, we quite didn’t realise the extent of this demotion!

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