On March 6th, KPCB announced the creation of a $100 million dollar fund, aptly named iFund which is aimed at funding the development of applications for the iPhone. KPCB is the also the firm that funded Google, which coincidentally launched the Android project several months ago with the goal of creating an open platform so that developers could create applications for the mobile phone.
The race to create the mobile Internet is on and KPCB is betting on the success of the iPhone to be the delivery mechanism for a much coveted target audience. (AT&T has also announced that they are cutting the price of the new 3G iPhone, which will of course stimulate adoption.) In theory the iPhone SDK will be released in June and developers will be allowed to create their own applications for the iPhone.
This all comes at a time when, Verizon has won the 700 mhz C-Block spectrum and will surely do what all large companies do to protect their core business; send the lawyers in to prolong the inevitable transition to an open platform. (Steve Jobs has always thought of carriers as an “orifice” and did in fact completely dictate the nature of the partnership with AT&T for the iPhone negotiation.)
Another sign of the mobile Internet evolution is the impending closure of Mowser whose business model was converting web sites to mobile phone ready versions. I’ve posted about what I believe the future of the mobile Internet could be and believe that the iPhone does a great job of resolving the biggest issue of the mobile web which is screen real estate. However, I did not speak to such things as mCommerce (mobile commerce) and location based services, which KPCB mentions, only because those are complete no-brainers.
Either way the mobile Internet is about to get much more interesting.