torsdag 25. mars 2010

AdMob CEO: The App Store wins because we’re in mobile’s ‘Yahoo phase’

Omar Hamoui, founder and chief executive of mobile advertising startup AdMob, offered a catchy way today to think about the evolution of mobile applications and the mobile web — we’re in “the Yahoo phase,” he said, because it’s still possible to find applications using directory-style app stores.
Hamoui spoke at AdMob’s developer event in San Mateo, Calif. One of the attending developers asked whether the HTML5 format will become powerful enough that websites accessed via mobile browsers might overtake applications sold in app stores like Apple’s, but Hamoui replied that the real issue isn’t the web’s technical capabilities.
“I think it’s possible in HTML5 to do what most apps do,” Hamoui said. “I think what people sort of ignore there is distribution. The app store, the whole point of hte app store is distribution, and a lot of its power is distribution. Until that problem is solved, I’m not sure that HTML5 wins.”
However, Hamoui added, as the number of apps grows into the millions and tens of millions, it’s going to become impossible to find the cool ones. He didn’t say whether that will lead to new methods of application discovery in the App Store, or whether we’ll see a shift to mobile websites that users find through search. If we stick with the web metaphor, the Google phase comes after the Yahoo phase, and Google (which plans to acquire AdMob, assuming that the deal isn’t blocked due to antitrust concerns) has certainly been advocating for the mobile web over downloadable apps.
Another attendee asked which smartphone platform will emerge victorious over the next few years — Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, or someone else?
“My guess would be that I don’t see the future being all that different from today,” Hamoui said. The iPhone and Android will continue to duke it out, and some other platforms like Microsoft’s Windows phones and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry will recapture some of their buzz to become contenders as well. The only real difference compared to a few years ago is that all of these platforms realize that they need to reach out to mobile developers, because that’s how they differentiate each other.
Hamoui also cautioned against taking his predictions too seriously. For example, when the iPhone first came out, AdMob expected that most ad impressions would be from mobile websites rather than apps, and the opposite was true. Luckily, AdMob released tools to include its ads in both mobile websites and apps. In other words, when developers make their plans for the future, the key is to “try and make sure that you’re going to be okay no matter what happens.”
Tags: Android, iPhone
Companies: AdMob, Google
People: Omar Hamoui

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