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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 30, 2012 at 8:31 AM

D10: Mary Meeker on Facebook IPO and mobile

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — Wall Street analyst turned Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mary Meeker opened the second day of the All Things D conference by presenting her latest report on Internet trends.

Meeker talked about the remarkable growth of mobile, transition ad models and Facebook’s IPO.

She’ll be followed by Zynga Chief Executive Mark Pincus.

Here’s Meeker’s latest report:

KPCB Internet Trends 2012

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Emerging markets and mobile are driving growth, Meeker said.

Desktop use of the Internet is being surpassed by mobile usage, and this shift could happen within five years in the U.S. Meeker cautioned that there are some challenges ahead for Internet companies funded by advertising. Mobile ad rates are five times lower than desktop rates.

“There’s a transition going on right now … but it may take a little bit of time for mobile to get monetized as highly as desktops,” Meeker said, explaining that it will take awhile to sort out ad businesses on mobile devices.

“It’s not going to take five years like it did with the desktop Internet, this will happen quickly” — perhaps over the next 12 months, she said.

Japan has provided early evidence that mobile users can be monetized, particularly around games, she said.

Meeker said there are opportunities for consumer “white spaces” around the ear and body — basically new, natural user interfaces — and the car and TV.

Americans should be proud that they’ve reclaimed leadership in mobile operating systems, Meeker said.

“I’d sort of given up” five years ago when U.S. companies had 5 percent of the mobile OS market. Now, between Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, they have 64 percent.

At the same time, Meeker is concerned about the declining percentage of Americans paying income taxes and increasing percentage receiving federal support. She said she’s scared about the prospect of the majority of people receiving government support rather than paying taxes wonders how it will affect the country’s drive to innovate.

Private Internet companies are raising money based on “very high valuations and it makes it difficult for them to go public,” she said. The valuations also make it difficult for the companies to achieve goals that justify their valuation.

Asked about Facebook’s IPO, Meeker said the phenomenal trading volume at the opening was “a financial share tsunami” that cost the company its momentum out of the gate.

“Confidence and momentum in markets is so important,” she said.

Right now “it’s precarious to buy or sell or do anything” with Facebook stock until it settles out, but she’s confident in its long-term prospects.

“This is a great company and it will do very well over time,” said Meeker, now an investment partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

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