Archive for June 2008
With Nokia looking to acquire the rest of Symbian that it does not own, and Google readying Android, the Platform Wars are about to begin. So, who will win the Platform War? It is a way early to predict the winners and losers of this war. However, the battlefield has been defined.
With Symbian on 66% of Smartphones, it would seem to have most to lose. So, with this latest announcement from Nokia, they are gearing up for the tough battle ahead. True, Nokia, has ambitions to transform itself from a phone company to an entertainment company.
However, Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, hit on the real reason, when he was quoted by Paul McDougall of InformationWeek saying:
“The creation of the Symbian Foundation reflects the fact that Symbian’s competitive landscape has started to change rapidly over the past year with new entrants and old competitors increasing their influence,”
They have seen Microsoft, IBM and now Google, make money from the software and services. They want to become a software company. It sees the handset market as a tough market with the Asian manufacturers leading the pack. While Nokia has some great handsets and are the leading provider of phones worldwide, they see the writing on the wall. They want to get out of the handset business. I see them spinning off their handset division in the next year or so and possibly exiting the handset business in 3-5 years.
Nokia will have its work cut out. Now that it is forming the foundation, it will have to tread a careful path so as not to alienate some of the handset providers who are members of the foundation. Also, Microsoft and Google are not going to give in easily. Not to mention upstarts like Apple with iPhone and RIM with Blackberry. Things are just beginning to heat up. Let’s see who remains standing when the dust settles.
Analysts have proclaimed the advent of mobile enterprise and the vision of enterprise data being available on any device, anywhere are being spun like it is the next best thing to slice bread. As an enterprise executive, I would love to have information related to my work on the tips of my finger while I am traveling. However, there is a huge gap between the reality and the vision.
Peter Price, CEO of Webalo, hits the nail on its head when he says:
Despite claims to the contrary, the path between enterprise data and the handheld is littered with complexity, programmers, time, expense and frustration. The industry is desperate for a simple solution.
Peter goes on to offer a good and well-known solution, SaaS or Software as a Service. He argues in favor of SaaS versus other models like custom solutions and middleware solutions, citing development costs and time as reasons against these other models.
SaaS has a lot going for it that would make it an enticing solution for mobile enterprise. However, there are two major issue that SaaS has to overcome. That is the perception of a potential security and operational risk. Most enterprises today, still prefer to control their information assets under their internal controls. As such, SaaS has a long way to go to overcome this perception.
Another issue with SaaS is that they are designed as multi-tenent solution. As such, the features are meant to fit 80% of cases. To make it work for your particular enterprise, you would have to then customize, configure which increase costs and time. Thus negating the reasons why you would want to deploy SaaS in the first place.
With the much ballyhooed announcement of iPhone 3G at $199 starting price, it is going to sell fast like its previous version, when it is released on July 11. However, should businesses care about iPhone? After all, iPhone still accounts for only 6 million of 3billion+ phones worldwide.
With its Exchange support, MS Word, Excel & read-only PowerPoint support, and IT-focused security features, Apple is taking on both RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Mobile. With the new applications store and the rich revenue sharing model for developers, it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. However, there are still some features that would make it a compelling case for businesses.
First being option of carriers. Granted AT&T is trying very hard to improve its customer service and take care of Apple customers, however, Ma Bell will have to do better to convince businesses to switch carriers just so that they can use iPhone.
Second, of course is the price. Apple did go ways in reducing the price barrier which Steve Jobs said was the number one barrier to adoption of iPhone. But, businesses look for volume discounts for both handsets and calling plans. It appears that AT&T has increased its data plan, while keeping the voice plan same for iPhones. This $10 per month increase combined with no volume discounts on handsets could be a deal-killer for businesses contemplating adopting iPhones.
In spite of these, businesses need to give iPhone the second look it deserves.