Eating “little more than buttered macaroni”, founder shuts down mobile browsing platform Mowser

Filed as Features, General, News on April 14, 2008 9:45 pm

Russell Beattie, an ex-Yahoo mobile evangelist, has announced the closure of his mobile browsing service mowser – located at mowser.com.

mowser.jpg

Mowser is (the site remains active as of this writing) a web service that processes a website and then optimizes the site for viewing via a mobile device. Mowser works quite well – and prior to becoming an iPhone owner last year, was my primary tool for surfing fullblown websites on the mobile browser on my Treo 700wx.

Beattie writes in his announcement post that he’s been self-funding the startup through his own funds and borrowing from family and friends:

Seriously… A salary will be a good thing to have again. I’m *thousands* of dollars in debt to my family and friends, maxed out on every credit card (all of which are in collections), on my last chance for my apartment (if I bounce one more check…), had my car repossessed *twice*, electricity turned off, cellphones switched off, landline canceled outright, and on more than one occasion (this weekend in particular) eaten little more than buttered macaroni as I waited for an overdue PayPal deposit to arrive (3-4 days? Come on!). Having a steady income will be a welcome mental break, believe me.

I can understand why he’s looking to move on at this point – he’s clearly given it his all.

Beattie is also pretty bearish on the mobile web – causing some, like Larry Dignan over at ZDNet, to wonder if perhaps the mobile web is over begin it began:

In some sense, he’s right. Mobile browsing stinks and frankly I want the same experience I get on my PC. That browsing ability is the secret sauce behind the iPhone and with any luck all devices will surf the Web the same way a PC does.

I can understand this viewpoint – for me, at least, the mobile web was something I went to only when I was forced to do so on my Treo. But since I became an iPhone owner, I’ve been using mobile web applications via the iPhone’s Safari interface quite frequently – and after having that interface experience, I’m not sure that I want to go back to a more limited mobile web browsing experience.

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  1. By butler posted on April 15, 2008 at 4:39 pm
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    What Russ expected to happen didn’t. He expected the mobile market to develop like it has in Japan and overseas. Anyone who’s been in Japan knows that cell phone usage is totally different than in North America. Also I doubt Russ really expected iPhone to rock the house as well as it did.

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