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The World in 2013: Who’s Winning in Mobile?

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind
Daily Ticker

Landline phones were largely replaced by mobile phones in 2001 and 11 years later it appears personal computers are headed in the same direction. The number of Internet-connected mobile devices are projected to surpass the number of desktop and laptop personal computers in use in 2013.

According to The Economist’s Daniel Franklin, mobile companies received $3.9 billion in venture capital investments in the first half of 2012 -- 46% of all venture capital invested. More funding went into mobile firms in 2011 than in any year since 2001, Franklin tells The Daily Ticker.

So what does this mean for technology companies? Facebook (FB) bought photo-sharing app Instagram, a mobile-only service, for nearly $1 billion this year, but the the social media company's ability to emerge as a winner in the mobile world is unclear.

Related: Facebook’s Instagram Backtracks: “It Is Not Our Intention to Sell Your Photos,” Says Co-Founder

Advertising rates are lower for mobile phones and Facebook is already struggling to turn a profit from its desktop ads, says Franklin. Still, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is banking on mobile and devoting time and money into figuring out how Facebook will profit from it.

Apple (AAPL), Franklin says, is the real winner of the mobile revolution. Despite losing some ground to rival tablet devices, the iPad still made up 50.4% of Apple's Q3 sales in 2012. The iPhone dominates its market, accounting for nearly 75% of all profits in the mobile-phone industry. Apple’s ability to shine in mobile markets has made the company what it is today -- one of the most profitable publicly traded U.S. corporations.

PC giants like Dell (DELL), HP (HPQ), and Microsoft (MSFT) are losing out on mobile profits, Franklin tells The Daily Ticker. Phone makers Nokia (NOK) and Research in Motion (RIMM) have also made missteps by not making the Internet the center of their products. Online retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) are transitioning toward mobile stores with success, Franklin notes.

With products like Google (GOOG) Glass set to make a big splash in the retail market, the Internet may soon be a part of us, literally. In 2013 Web sites and retailers will have to make changes that reflect this shift or face irrelevancy.

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