Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mobile operators buying Mobile 2.0 startups

I wrote about the ZYB acquisition by Vodafone last week. The main news for me is that contact sync is hot, and that owning a user address book is one of the most important goal for a service provider (and a content provider...).

There is another angle though, more generic than contact sync:
Vodafone - a mobile operator - has acquired a startup, a Mobile 2.0 startup.
This is big news. If you were to go for the quick bucks (some days I regret deciding to go for the billion dollar company ;-) you had few options. Mostly, Google. But they do few acquisitions a year. Or maybe Nokia. In the old days, Yahoo, but who wants to sell to them today? That was it.

Now, the mobile operators come to play. If you have a cool mobile application/service, mostly Business to Consumer (B2C), you have a chance to be snapped by Vodafone. Or one of the other 70 mobile operators out there. It is a long list with lots of money.

Mobile operators are realizing they will become a data pipe. They can't launch services now. It is too late. To prevent the pipe nightmare, they need to buy services that are up and running, to be able to have a presence around social networking and everything around Mobile 2.0. And they have to do it fast...

Vodafone is the big gorilla. They moved. Everybody noticed. Look out for the next one...