Here’s our collection of photos from the Web 2.0 Summit, which ran from Tuesday through Thursday in San Francisco. It’s also our 30-second summary of what you may have missed at the big digerati event. We’ll start with the last man who spoke at the conference, Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web. He never made any attempt to own his creation and gave it to the world for free, he said, because “that was the only way it would have worked.” He said he was concerned about attempts by companies or countries to control the Internet.
Who would have thought the chief executive of General Electric would show up at a tech conference? But Jeff Immelt came to show off a new gadget that lets doctors monitor patients with a portable ultrasound. He also touted GE’s efforts to move into the green technology space.
Carly Fiorina had a close-shorn look because she is recovering from breast cancer. But she was frank in a Q&A where she talked about her ambition to run for Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat. She actually supported Obama’s policies on a more holistic effort to win the war in Afghanistan and using technology to make government more transparent. Yet she said she was a Republican because she feels government shouldn’t make choices that people should make themselves.
Mark Pincus couldn’t make his slide clicker work. But the chief executive of Zynga says a new era of social apps is coming that will create a vast virtual economy. He touted the integration of charitable donations into the actions gamers can take inside the company’s FarmVille game, which has 56 million monthly active users.
Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker said that leading indicators show we’re climbing out of the recession, but lagging indicators such as the 10 percent unemployment rate show there is still a lot of pain in the economy. She predicts that mobile technology will lead to a huge new wave in computing. And she went through a huge slide deck in 17 minutes.
Justice Department antitrust honcho Carl Shapiro said, “I’m from the government, and I’m your friend.” He explained that Justice hasn’t intervened in all that many antitrust cases, but will act when there are attempts to illegally monopolize markets, eliminate competition through mergers, or fix prices through collusion.
Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, dodged questions about whether he was going to buy NBC Universal from General Electric. But he said that he likes to invest in content because it gives him multiple revenue streams. He politely listened as several speakers complained about Comcast’s high-speed Internet service.
Jonathan Miller, chief digital officer at News Corp., was glad he wasn’t at AOL anymore. But he has his own set of challenges as News Corp. makes sense of all of its different digital properties and tries to restore growth at MySpace, which has lost its market leadership to Facebook.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was a surprise guest. He showed off his comfy shoes and admitted he was embarrassed about the lateness of Google’s Chrome browser on the Mac platform. But he said that Google wasn’t to blame for all of the old media’s business problems.
Sean Parker, managing director at Founders Fund, founded or was an early executive at Napster, Plaxo and Facebook. He got booted out of all three companies, but he advanced an interesting theory about network effects and why it was inevitable that Facebook would overtake Google in importance.
Tim Armstrong, chief executive of AOL, said that the company’s spinoff from Time Warner is going as planned. He believes that content investments will be key to AOL’s future, and he noted that real-time communication (think some kind of mashup of instant messages and Twitter) is going to be a big part of AOL’s future.
The teens had the next-to-the-last word. They loved Apple and Facebook, but just didn’t grok the value of Twitter. One of them seemed to think that Apple had defeated Microsoft already, saying, “They won when they came up with the PC vs. Mac ads.”