Big Ideas Need Work, Amazon Isn’t Too Late in Mobile Apps, and More from VC Tom Huseby
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to do with the growing split, and competition, between Apple and Google.
He also said there’s a huge difference in the user-friendliness of the iPhone versus Google’s Nexus One, in terms of consumers being able to use the devices out of the box. “There’s a lot of learning that company [Google] has to do to become a consumer products company,” he said. But on the software platform side, he said, “Android works a lot better than I thought it would.”
Huseby also talked about how the whole mobile ecosystem has changed such that there are a lot more players from the software side. “There are fewer and fewer constraints around mobile that separate me from everyone else,” Huseby said. “Now phones are working very well, and are very similar to PCs in every way—suddenly the playing field has become more level…The power of the phone is so high, a lot of people are roaring into the space that don’t need to know about mobile. It’s no longer the private reserve of people who know how the concept of a handoff works.” (That’s cellular-network-speak for switching base stations when your mobile phone moves around.)
Lastly, the big opportunities Huseby currently sees in mobile phones include voice command (speech recognition on phones) and streaming video—the latter of which he originally didn’t think would be that big.
And the future of mobile revenues, he said, lies in advertising. That’s where some of his more prominent portfolio companies are operating— Zumobi, SinglePoint, and Ground Truth, all based in the Seattle area. (Ground Truth announced new members of its advisory board, including Usama Fayyad and Clark Kokich, last week.)
“I got really interested in how’s this network going to get paid for. Are you going to replace the whole phone? There’s some money coming in, but not a lot,” he said. “Will you replace the cable bill? No, but home broadband maybe. Will you reach into customers’ pockets? Probably not. I bet on mobile advertising a long time ago. I’m working that space.”
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