Since it's steady revitalization the current tech/internet industry is growing as fast as ever, dictating the nature of business around the globe. The new tech leaders still clash with old business (and each other for that matter, mostly over pesky patent disputes1mashable.com-Google vents about patents ), but have found mutually successful in the market for information delivery and the medium on which it operates.
At this point every business has ties to technology, whether in the form social media accounts, mobile apps, or websites; it's expected of a business to have an internet presence.
What implementation a business pursues is dependent on the nature of their product and consumer base. Any functional service should have an accompanying app and website. But for a smaller business delivering physical products such as an electronics store, an app isn't exactly necessary.
Free Apps led Apple to a bonanza.
In 2006 AAPL shares stayed around $60 per share. By 2008 that amount had tripled to $180 . Slightly held up by the economic collapse, shares still continued on to a peak of $700 per share.
Beyond the success of the actual iPhone, much of the credit of Apple's success goes to the App Store. In addition to paid apps, a myriad of free apps became the backbone of the App Store, allowing developers to showcase products and consumers to receive added functionality at no extra cost. This boom led to application development becoming more integral to business roadmaps.
Current operating systems are expected to be bug-free with the overwhelming growth in mobile apps over the last seven years. Comparably, Windows Vista was released six years ago in 2006 and was plagued by bugs throughout it's first service pack in 20082Windows Archive- Announcing the rtm of windows vista SP1.
Beyond simple interfaces and error-free experiences, tech customers are heavily interested in evolved controls and input options. While voice commands and touch interfaces have technically been around since the mid 90's (One of Microsoft's first Pocket PC's, the Genio is pictured right) their current implementation is in a different category which was opened by Apple in 2006.
Touch controls have dominated the market so much that PC sales have fallen drastically to smartphone sales. This resulted in Microsoft changing it's entire Windows interface to accommodate the touch-centric new tech world. This is the same Microsoft that 12 years needed America and European Governments to step in and take legal actions to halt their dominance. Now they're lagging behind with 3% of the mobile market (considered to be the most important subset of the present tech market) and the bottom fallen out of the PC market.
Since the emergence of the smartphone market and alongside the tremendous app stores, consumers have grown accustomed to an ever increasing amount of functionality available at their fingertips. Most of the top apps are free, facilitators of information and a service to make connections rather than provide content. Those that do provide content struggle between free apps and paid services. While big success stories show a clear business plan for free services (Twitter, Google, Facebook), many stalwarts stand strong behind paid firewalls (NYT) or confident in the value their product offers.
With the resurgence of the tech industry and free quality services, personal tech has outpaced development in enterprise tech. For the first time consumers had better products on their home laptops than they were forced to use for work. Google's chrome browser was quicker from the get go and quickly gained more functionality than IE which at the time was still the standard Enterprise Browser.
People have grown more tech oriented, brought on by the newly interesting smartphone market, they became aware how to do more tasks on the computer that weren't available on their outdated work computers who were committed to a tediously slow update process at the company's behest. IE6 became the scourge of website developers. Now such a limitation is a distant memory as BYOD policies are all the rage and users are commonly assigned laptops with minimal tech support.
Where do we go from here?
The last seven years has seen a impressive amount of development centered around the growing respect towards the internet as a medium, and wide-reaching mobile development. With no sign of slowing down, it would seem that we are on the verge of some exciting new trends from the tech industry.
It's not possible to discuss current trends and not mention cloud computing. While people remain disputed as to it's value or merits, it continues to be a growing force and substantial investment from major tech institutions [Amazon, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft] while improving stability and unifying the experience across different devices.
As for the hottest trend, that would be finding away to gain the most amount of eyes. Instant, low-maintenance (relatively), brilliant ideas such as Twitter and Foursquare provide basic functionality in simple, pleasant interfaces with a wide range of customized connectivity. How popular is simply obtaining a user base? Well Microsoft valued Skype at 8.5 billion despite already owning their own video services3Wired.com- Microsoft buys Skype, Yahoo purchased tumblr for 1.1 billion4NY Times- Yahoo buys Tumblr, and Facebook paid only a little less for Instagram5NY Times- Facebook buys Instagram.
Given the current mood of the market it would seem that biggest trend is to attract the most customers on both the mobile and desktop platforms, and the best method to deliver that is to release the best possible product implementation.
What we are seeing happen is a job market with more developers graduating school to develop light-weight, high functioning apps, which outperform other competitors on the market. All the current top tech companies are all left seeking to pick up the next big thing and the next wave of talent.
Another benefactor of the internet boom is the content and media industry. While Hollywood has been slow to adapt due to piracy concerns, the music industry has seen a boom since embracing DRM free media priced fairly. The movie industry has not yet followed suit, but the path has been torched by Netflix who's stock has skyrocketed. After the slight 'Quickster' mishap, Netflix has demonstrated that people are more than willing to follow the rules and pay for content as long it's provided at a fair and reasonable price without obtrusive restrictions and additional fees.
It could be interpreted that all signs point to giving the people what they want. Since this is a strategy typically frowned upon by traditional big business it will be interesting to see how the market develops. For now it's nice to see quality items fill the stage and gain well deserved attention. Who would have thought providing valuable services would actually pay off?