Is the web dying, killed off by mobile apps? It’s complicated

Gigaom

As more and more apps become multibillion-dollar businesses — from WhatsApp and Instagram to SnapChat and Slack — it’s tempting to see them as replacing the web, or taking over from it. This helps explain the periodic outbreak of articles about how “the web is dying,” like the one Christopher Mims wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal. But the truth is that, as is often the case when someone says a certain kind of behavior is dying, it’s a lot more complicated than such headlines suggest.

In his piece, Mims repeats many of the same arguments we’ve heard before about how apps have come to dominate our activity as mobile usage has grown. Instead of using web browsers, we go to task-specific apps, and these are in many cases “walled gardens” that benefit a single corporation and don’t play well with others — either in terms of the…

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