MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor on implications of 'the mobile wave'

The BI (business intelligence) vendor chief has a New York Times bestseller on his hands

By , IDG News Service |  Software

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor's big interest these days is "the mobile wave," which refers to a re-ordering of technology and modern life through the proliferation of iPads, smartphones and the increasingly sophisticated software that runs on them.

It's also in the title of his recently released book, "The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything," which has made The New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list.

Mobile software has also become an important focus of MicroStrategy's BI (business intelligence) software portfolio, but during a recent conversation with IDG News Service, Saylor was most interested in discussing what's holding back widespread mobility, and what it portends.

IDGNS: Do you see any obstacles in the way of "the mobile wave?"

Saylor: It only took 25 years to put mobile technology in the hands of six billion people. The technology has been proliferating pretty rapidly. [But] there's a limitation in the rate at which we can manufacture certain components.

Qualcomm has said that they're at capacity manufacturing the Snapdragon chip. Google and Amazon had a hard time producing a 10-inch tablet computer so I take that to mean that there's a shortage of 10-inch touchscreen glass in the world and I think Apple has bought it all up. I think manufacturing capacity constraints are an obstacle, and as we tool up to be able to produce hundreds of millions of tablet computers, that will take time.

I'd say certainly within five years we'll have five billion people with a smartphone and within 10 years I think we'll have five billion people with tablet computers. I think manufacturing is going to be the number-one obstacle. The number-two obstacle is just logistical constraints and the rate at which it takes time for sophisticated technology to diffuse into the hands of everybody.

IDGNS: The content we are getting on our phones now is a lot richer than it used to be, and it's only going to get richer in terms of the data intensity. Do you see problems with the global network infrastructure keeping up?

Saylor: The friction comes in the form of increased monthly fees to people that are on mobile phone networks. That will drive people to adopt more terrestrial networks and try to take advantage of Wi-Fi more often. Certainly, bandwidth is becoming more costly. There was a time when television was free and you bought the TV and you put up an antenna and you watched for free. People started paying $20 for cable and then $100 for cable and then $200 for cable, and I would say there are plenty of people right now that probably pay $100 to $200 a month for their mobile phone service.

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