Dominant market positions can do strange things to a CEO and his or her leadership team. In the case of Apple, the company's massive iPhone and iPad successes are leading it to miscalculate pricing of content on those devices. You can read the official Apple statement of its position here, or check out the Forrester analysis here arguing that ultimate fees from content providers to app platform players should be in the 5% range -- a long way from Apple's 30%.
iPhone, iPad, and Android apps are not sideshow novelties -- in my estimation they signal a cataclysmic shift in the technology industry away from the Microsoft desktop standard and the cloud/Web paradigm. This is App Internet, representing a new model of applications that seamlessly combine the power of local devices with the scale of the cloud. App Internet is positioned to shift activity away from the Web to the app experience -- forever changing many, many markets. A recent Forrester survey shows that among tablet users, 39% spend more time using the web browser, 45% spend about the same amount of time using apps as using the web browser, and 16% spend more time using apps. These are the formative and critical moments in the development of the App Internet market -- the winners could become dominant for decades.
This year at Davos I asked people how many years it will take for China to pass the US in gross domestic product. For context, China's GDP in 2010 was $5.7 trillion; the US was at $14.6 trillion. China is growing at 15.3% per year, the US at 3.6%.
Respondents to my question included tech CEOs, a former UK prime minister, a former US senator, and the head of one of the world’s largest banks. I polled entrepreneurs, economists, and businesspeople from many parts of the world. In all, 40 attendees answered the question. Here are the results:
1) The average was 18 years -- 2029.
2) Of the 40, only three said that China would never pass the US.
3) The low number of years was eight; the high was 55.
4) Many believed that there would be a political disruption for China, but this would not delay the eventual overtaking of the US.
A caveat: The World Economic Forum loves straight lines -- it celebrates stasis and is not adept at predicting disruption. So any so-called obvious trend (e.g., China up, the US flat-lining) is embraced and accepted. Only one problem: The future rarely cooperates.