The Web Will Kill Apps

wired web dead coverLots of the “apps are killing the web” meme going around these days, with the latest batch of casket sealant come from no greater validator of commonly agreed upon wisdom than the Wall St. Journal. “The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It” argues Christopher Mims, and it’s hard to argue with him given the preponderance of current evidence.

I disagree.

I am in the midst of a long stew on the future of mobile, it’s taken me through deep links and intelligent links, to the future of search on mobile and beyond, and I’m nowhere near finished with either the reporting or the writing – so I can’t definitively counter the Journal’s argument – yet. But I feel it in my bones – apps, what I’ve disparagingly called “chiclets” – are not the model of how we will interact with information, services, or the world via mobile. The best of the web – open, low cost to entry, no gatekeepers, end-user driven, standards-based, universal namespace, etc. – will prevail.

Why am I so sure of this? Because just about every single person I’ve spoken to – some three dozen or so, to date – are convinced we’re in a secular shift from the app model to….something else, something new, something better. I had a great meeting today at the mobile search startup Jack, for example, with people who are super-qualified to have opinions on the matter (ex Facebook, Excite, Apple, et al, backed in a quiet $6mm round early this year by John Lilly and Reid Hoffman at Greylock). And they are not alone – the caliber of people I’ve encountered who share my point of view is extraordinary. Something big is brewing, and I’m deep into figuring out how to frame it. It’s  a big story, and I don’t know if I can tell it as well as it deserves to be told. But I’m going to try, and if you’re reading this, well, it’s your job to course correct my attempts.

Stay tuned. The web as we knew it ten years ago may be “dead,” but its core values and framework are alive, kicking, and poised to once again disrupt the current oligarchs of mobile.

6 thoughts on “The Web Will Kill Apps”

    1. I think John is talking about something that can be as a new layer of the Internet, something that can give us a new value, something that makes Internet even more useful than today, something like a service for bloggers.
      Looking forward to getting more information from the author.

  1. being very opinionated, I’m actually betting that apps are a proper subset of the web.

    People that I talk to want apps that run on both iOS and Android, and they don’t really want to pay for developing both from scratch. These are startups getting the first MVP out, or businesses looking to get in front of more consumers, or companies that need data centric apps to help their mobile workers.

    I don’t think writing native code will satisfy this demand .. there just aren’t enough programmers.

    I would say “the web will set apps free” .. and this is the approach I’m taking with : build apps by configuring, that run on any platform. Not easy right now.. but it is the future.

  2. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I completely agree. Apps have always just “felt wrong” to me. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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