Google, Microsoft Being Disrupted by Mobile Apps: Pro
Google is reportedly trying to buy mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $1 billion, although the deal has since been denied. This follows Yahoo's purchase of news aggregator Summly at the end of March.
Chien-Wen Tong, senior account planner at communications agency JWT told CNBC that the major tech firms are trying to aggressively transition into the mobile world which has exploded in the past five years because of smartphones.
"It's really challenging because they're not geared towards this world," she told CNBC.
"Microsoft is just used to people just sitting at their desks, but people are moving around. People are used to connecting with their friends on many more platforms now, not just Facebook."
The trick is for these firms to attract a mobile audience by acquiring other companies and then adding these audience figures to their pre-existing desktop numbers, she said. Large, established social networks like Facebook are being disrupted by newcomers such as WhatsApp, which offer a slightly different experience, she said.
App usage has surged in the past five years, according to a report by analytics firm Flurry. U.S. consumers spend an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes per day on smartphones and tablets, it said in a report last week, 80 percent of that time (2 hours and 7 minutes) is spent inside apps and 20 percent (31 minutes) is spent on the mobile web.
(Read More: Facebook Feels Hot Breath of New Competitors Down Its Neck)
Several high profile deals have been announced in recent years with Facebook buying mobile photo sharing app Instagram for around $1 billion and Zynga acquiring mobile hit Draw Something for $180 million.
"For the app developers you have got a better chance of being bought out by Google than winning the lottery," Tong said, but urged developers to try and make something that "somehow takes off".
—By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch