On XM the other day, I heard the classic early 1980s song "Video Killed the Radio Star." It got me thinking... what forms of communication and entertainment are dead or dying? Now, radio clearly still exists, and new franchises can still be built in a dying medium (i.e., XM, Sirius, Howard Stern). But, radio has been dying for 25 years, just as TV has been dying for 5. What else is dying? I would argue that the PC-based Internet is dying. Yes, the PC-based Internet's flower currently in full bloom with explosive growth at Google, YouTube and MySpace. But, will desktop and laptop computers still be relevant for consumers in 10 years? Sure, they will still exist, as do mainframe computers and tape libraries. But, if we can perform 90% of our critical consumer functions TODAY on a 1 pound wireless device, why will we need to lug laptops around? I imagine each house will need a legacy computer for the kids to research and write term papers and such (things they will never work on the small form factor of wireless devices). And businesses will still use PCs for Excel, ERP, etc. But, 90% of what we consumers do today over computing devices is e-mail, photo sharing, getting snack sized news updates (sports, stocks, headlines, etc.), playing games and web surfing. All of that can be capably done today over COMMODITY wireless handsets (like my cheapie Nokia). We hardly even need the power of the Blackberry unless we are power-emailers. We certainly don't need PCs.
PCs aren't going to die as fast as 8-track cassettes. But, they are dying. They are just too big and clumsy to serve the killer apps of 2006-2016.
Wireless is killing the PC Internet Star indeed.
By the way, remember the wireless web bubble expected in 1999 that never came? Oh boy... is it coming, just watch. The explosion of wireless data services coming down the pipe is amazing, and the usage is still early days, but is booming with YouTube like ferocity. And the carriers are ready this time... and they are not willing to lay down to Google and become dumb pipes like the landline ISPs did. Lots of money will be made and lost in wireless data bubble 2.0.