Internet giants from Google and Facebook to Yahoo and Zynga are scrambling to adapt to an online world where people reach for smartphones or tablets instead of traditional computers.
Social games pioneer Zynga, which rose to stardom making titles played at Facebook’s website, is cutting nearly a fifth of its staff as part of a move to focus on titles for mobile gadgets.
After taking over as chief executive at Yahoo last year, former Google executive Marissa Mayer laid out a turn-around strategy that made a priority of tailoring offerings to smartphones and tablets.
The dismal performance of Facebook’s freshly-launched stock last year was blamed in large part on fears that it lacked tools to cash in on members who are increasingly accessing the social network from mobile devices.
Google has proved prescient by creating and giving away an Android mobile operating system that showcases its software and services on smartphones and tablets.
Even the Mountain View, California-based technology titan’s seemingly offbeat “big bets” on Internet-linked Glass eyewear and Web-connected self-driving cars are seen by some analysts as shrewd moves to remain anchored in lifestyles.
“The head-mounted display makes the mobile user much more valuable because you can serve ads as they are walking and make them location-based,” independent Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle said of Glass.
“With self-driving cars, the dashboard is a huge tablet; if the car is driving and someone is bored, you can serve up whatever you want.”
Companies that staked claims with websites visited by people using desktop or laptop computers risk obsolescence if they don’t adapt to Internet users switching to apps on smartphones or tablets.
Industry data shows that people are moving “aggressively” to apps and away from traditional websites, according to Gartner analyst Van Baker.