Today we announced our deal with 1&1, which happens to be the largest web hoster (ISP) on the planet. Details are sketchy and I do not think I am allowed to add anything on this blog, but it is most likely going to turn into the biggest deal in the history of Funambol ;-)
Why does this matter for anybody but us?
Because it is a turning point in wireless.
1&1 has roughly 70 millions email accounts under management (some free, through one of their portals). Not a small number... As of today, for any of those customers to have mobile email on their devices, they would have to call their mobile operator. Once the service is launched, they won't. They will just get an IP from the mobile operator (through a data plan) and they will get mobile email from 1&1 directly.
Consumers will get mobile email from their email provider, not the mobile operator.
I wrote before about Mobile 2.0 and the shift in the market, which involves data plans, flat rates and direct access to the "Internet" from your mobile device. A scenario where the mobile carrier becomes a "carrier" of voice and data, not services (a.k.a. a "dumb" pipe). If you thought it would happen in a few years, you were wrong. It is happening now. Today. It is 1&1, Earthlink and the rest of those who own your email (think Google, Yahoo, AOL...).
Mobile operators are risking to become a bit pipe, more than ever. If they do not move fast (really fast), they are toasted. The train is about to leave the station...