Friday, June 27, 2008

Some quick thoughts

Have been busy causing trouble and disrupting poor thinking in some of the big clients that I consult for.

On one level I am ashamed by some of the thinking that I have seen from the Blue Chip Strategy Houses and have to hope that clients will reject the invoices when they are presented. However I fear that the fact that people were not fired if IBM were hired rings true when it comes to Bain and McKinsey.

Over the last week I have been forced to look at the published analysis of Mobile Broadband in Europe more than I would have chosen to. Clients have asked will we see the Mobile Networks follow the fixed in becoming just a dumb pipe? The one thing that I think will stop this is the payment relationship that the mobile networks have, if you already have one payment mechanism why would you need to invent a new one as you did with pay pal on the fixed internet. I also think that Voice could play an important part in the new data services that we will use. Vox shows some of the possibility with turning you voicemail into text. My Opera browser on the desktop shows some of what might happen with its voice controls. Before you buy into mobile broadband, the situation in Sweden, Finland or Austria is not something that can be used for the Globe or even the five biggest European markets on the basis of population. PC ownership in Spain and Italy is far lower than in Northern Europe for a start.

What are Nokia doing with Symbian?

Since the departure of Psion from the party it started Nokia have controlled the shape and direction of Symbian. We are told that Symbian leads the Smartphone market in terms of sales globally. However do Symbian phone's demonstrate that they are smart? When I was a Psion user you had a community of geeks who developed and exchanged software which they hoped they could replicated on Phones. They failed because the Networks were closed to personalisation that was more than just wallpapers and ringtones. I have explained that I see handsets as looking somewhat like the computer market of the mid-1980's in that we have too many Operating Systems. Only history will prove if Symbian was the DOS3.1 of mobile OS rather than VAX. The power of Nokia has put Symbian at risk because of its close association. At the moment all I see is Nokia saving money paying licence fees and the demise of S40 because the only reason it is used at present is because it has a lower charge. If they both have a zero cost Nokia will Supersize the OS with S60.

Was Motorola's new handset the last roll of the dice? This weeks new handset with its Kodac 5Meg Camera was behind the curve once again. Is this something to show that they still are around in the hope that they can find a buyer? Will be interested in seeing how public Huawei are about the PE House offers for a stake in their Handset Business. Should give an idea as to just what my old Motorola shares are worth not that I expect to be able to more than buy the family a round of ice creams with the "profits"!

Today's FT shows that what some Vodafone shareholders wanted may be about to come to pass with the Head of Verizon talking about taking control and buying assets overseas. The new CEO faces a challenging time when he takes the top job at Vodafone. I expect that those in Newbury are on for exciting times for the next 12 months.

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