That's a really nice internet you have there. It'd be a shame if anything were to happen to it. That's the threat Apple's app-centric approach has leveled against the World Wide Web as we know it, according to Roger McNamee, co-founder of the private equity firm Elevation Partners.
"There's a titanic clash for control of the internet. Fundamentally, this is between the world-wide web on the one hand and Apple's app model on the other," McNamee told CNBC in an interview. "Right now Apple is just killing the World Wide Web. Apple will do almost 100 million [iPads and iPhones] this year -- the numbers are staggering."
McNamee contrasted Apple's "staggering" success with two of the biggest players in the internet space: Microsoft and Google. Apple's iPhone and iPad are eroding Microsoft's once formidable stranglehold of the web. For example, McNamee says the Redmond-based company's share of internet-connected devices will fall below 50% this year -- down from 97% a decade ago.
Similarly, McNamee thinks Google, who he characterizes as a good company and leader of the world-wide web group, is losing its influence. Google's primary search business is losing ground to specialized sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. Much like Microsoft, Google has watched its 90% share of the search market shrink to less than half in the last few years.The Elevation Partners co-founder said Google's core challenge is overcoming limitations in the underlying software for the web, HTML, which hasn't changed for a decade. But, he says, Android is "too wild west" to be successful. Google will need to address some significant security concerns and prove the platform can support a commercially-viable ecosystem for developers and hardware manufacturers before it can be considered a long-term challenger.
Meanwhile, Apple's app model offers an innovative new approach to deploying engaging content and experiences to the web. As more customers buy iPhones and iPads, the Cupertino company will build momentum at the expense of its rivals. He sees the company entering a 10-year cycle of growth that will boost the technology sector as a whole.
Is Apple killing the web as we know it or simply making a killing with its popular mobile devices? Keep reading to state your case in the comments or watch the CNBC interview with McNamee.