Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nokia is on the move to Mobile SaaS

There is a lot going on at Nokia. First, rumors came out that they are about to launch a device with a touchscreen (a phone, not a tablet). Yesterday, they came out with a press release saying they gave up on Intellisync (e.g. they are not selling a solution to the enterprise anymore). Today, the announced the acquisition of OZ, a mobile IM consumer company.

Where are they going?
  1. Away from the enterprise software space, where they lost badly. They have never been an enterprise software company and they finally admitted it. The acquisition of Intellisync was a mistake (the price was half a billion...). They thought about moving Intellisync in the consumer space, but you can't change the DNA of a company...
  2. Towards the consumer software space. They are feeling the pressure from Apple and Google, and seeing the huge opportunity in mobile consumer software. In particular, hosted by Nokia with the OVI brand. They know they can't compete on hardware alone, so they are moving towards mobile Software as a Service. OZ is another piece of the puzzle.
What does it mean for the market as a whole? Well, the big gorilla is on the move... First it was RIM offering HW+services, then Apple, now Nokia - even more aggressively. Google and Microsoft are the slight odd cases, offering services and the operating system, but not the HW. However, the direction is exactly the same. Mobile SaaS.

Who is getting squeezed? Mobile operators and service providers. Guys, the time to start launching services is NOW. If you can't buy a company, just partner with 0ne. You need to move. Fast.

Remember, families do not have just one phone. Most prosumers have two (one smartphone and one not). And all move from one brand to another (the phone is a fashion item). As Mikael wrote me today, if you have an iPhone and buy MobileMe, you can't buy anything else. You are stuck with the iPhone for the rest of your life, because they do not support any other device.

And there is life after the iPhone.

Consumers get it and they do not like to be trapped. Mobile operators and service providers are in a unique position. They own the consumer relationship. The cross-device capability is key. It is a huge opportunity and a necessary move to prevent being marginalized. If I were them, I would know where to put my 2009 budget ;-)