Apps create $77 billion in economic activity

A recent Gartner report predicts that mobile apps will generate $77 billion by 2017. Think about that for a second… $77 billion of economic activity generated by something that was just coming into existence only 10 years ago.  

For all of you tech history buffs out there, you may remember that 2003 saw the advent of the first on-device app store by Handago. The iPhone was launched in 2007. The App Store came a year later and at the end of the year there were already around 100,000 apps available for download.

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In 2013, more than 40 billion apps have been downloaded. Fast forward four years and we will see 77 billion more dollars in the economy.

This kind of prosperity doesn’t happen by accident. And while we are all celebrating the results of this incredible innovation, we need to pause for a moment and appreciate the factors that contributed to this point in time. At the risk of oversimplifying it, it really comes down to one thing: the inventors had the freedom to create and consumers guided the process in a free marketplace. No cumbersome regulations and no resource limitations. Developers forged a new world and consumers inspired them to make it faster, easier, simpler and cheaper.

So here we are in 2014 which Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, has predicted will be the “tipping point in tech.” She recently stated, “By mobile, by the Internet of Things, by the bandwidth available and by the fact that it can just allow us all to connect and inspire and entertain each other in a way that has never happened before.”

As technology becomes easier to understand for the common consumer and begins to generate substantial activity in the marketplace, we need to be careful not to burden this economic engine with the heavy hand of government. Consumers are doing their job –pushing providers to deliver faster, better, simpler technology. This demands two things in this on-mobile world: faster Internet and more available mobile spectrum, the invisible radio waves that make your wireless devices work. 

So our call to action? Let’s stay on point by continuing a policy approach that does not saddle companies with regulations but leaves them free to respond to market forces to innovate and create. We need to to make sure the private sector is free to meet consumer demand and invest in technology-enabling infrastructure such as high-speed Internet. We also need to encourage the FCC to stay the course and free up available spectrum. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has committed to holding the next major spectrum auction by mid-2015. It’s important to stick to that deadline and not bow to bureaucrats who want the FCC to adopt complicated regulations that favor some carriers over others, which would result in delays, corporate favoritism and the potential of billions in losses to U.S. taxpayers.

Now let’s get started on generating that $77 billion.

McCullough is executive director of Texans for Economic Progress