Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Here’s What Apple and Google Are Fighting Over: Search Goes Mobile by 2016

The tech press provides constant updates on the Apple versus Google mobile war, using statistics about unit sales, activation numbers, app downloads, etc. But it’s always good to remember what the war is about.

Here’s a helpful reminder, via a Bernstein research note out today. By 2016, analyst Carlos Kirjner predicts, the majority of Web search queries will come from mobile devices.

One interesting caveat to that projection: It doesn’t include searches from tablets. I gather this is because Kirjner is trying to distinguish between searches conducted via wireless networks and those made using broadband connections, via Wi-Fi, although I’m not quite sure why that matters.

But if you added tablet searches, you’d reach the tipping point that much earlier. And it will get there much sooner in the U.S., anyway, because smartphone penetration is much higher here than other parts of the world.

Given that Apple’s iOS devices use Google search now — last fall, Google said that two-thirds of its search traffic comes from iOS — all mobile growth is good for Google.

But at some point, Kirjner suggests, Apple may decide to jettison Google for a competitor like, say, Microsoft. And that could cause real problems for Larry Page and company. But those problems would be much, much worse if Google hadn’t created an iPhone competitor in the first place.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work