I have written many times about the risk for mobile carriers to become dumb pipes. The device manufacturers are all out trying to steal the relationship the carriers built year after year with their customers.
It started with RIM and the Blackberry, then came Apple the iPhone. Nokia with Ovi, Palm with Synergy, Motorola with MOTOBLUR, Sony Ericsson with Rachel and more to come.
The carriers are all fighting back: Vodafone with 360, built on technology they acquired (Zyb), and many others licensing code from third party vendors (many, many carriers, I know for a fact ;-)
I always knew that being a pipe is painful. Your revenues become flat, then they start going down. The brand of the device manufacturer becomes all of a sudden more important than yours. Your users become their users.
However, one thing I did not expect: the carrier being blamed for everything...
This is what is happening these days with at&t and the iPhone. Anything cool about the iPhone is Apple's making. Anything bad with the iPhone is because of the network. It is because of AT&T. They get blamed over and over, with crowds dreaming of a Verizon iPhone (ready to blame Verizon as soon as they take on the device).
This article on the New York Times talks about the AT&T network versus the Verizon one, claiming AT&T is not worst than Verizon. Actually, some of the issues iPhone users are experiencing are just due to the iPhone bad usage of the network.
That does not surprise me. A few weeks back, I put the SIM card linked to my AT&T Blackberry account into my iPhone: a few moments later, I received a call from my AT&T representative asking me not to do that. I asked why, since I believe I am paying the same amount for the iPhone plan and the Blackberry plan. They said the iPhone use of the network is way different and my Blackberry plan does not cover that. No surprise the AT&T network is collapsing...
Who did I blame for the call? AT&T, of course.
Always blame the dumb pipe. After all, they must be dumb because they let the device manufacturers take their users and blame them for anything. Dumb and dumber.