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A Billion-Dollar Turning Point for Mobile Apps
11 Apr 2012 EDT - The New York Times
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The path for Internet start-ups used to be quite clear: establish a presence on the Web first, then come up with a version of your service for mobile devices.

Now, at a time when the mobile start-up Instagram can command $1 billion in a sale to Facebook , some start-ups are asking: Who needs the Web?

Smartphones are everywhere now, allowing apps like Foursquare and Path to be self-contained social worlds, existing almost entirely on mobile devices. It is a major change from just a few years ago, underscoring how the momentum in the tech world is shifting to mobile from computers.

In that context, the Instagram deal looks like something of a turning point, as even the Web giant Facebook tries to get a better grasp on a market that requires a rethinking of old rules.

“For decades, the center of computing has been the desktop, and software was modeled after the experience of using a typewriter,” said Georg Petschnigg, a former Microsoft employee who is one of the creators of Paper, a new sketchbook app for the iPad . “But technology is now more intimate and pervasive than that. We have it with us all the time, and we have to reimagine innovative new interfaces and experiences around that.”

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