Monday, June 07, 2004

Assault on Smart Phones

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction... my physics professor tried to teach me something like that. Now I see what he meant. It hadn't occured to me that professional technology industry consultants would advise against the adoption of new technology. Luddites or Amish maybe. But thanks to Cory Doctorow, I now see how short term economic thinking warps some consultants brains... Cory points out an article from the Register entitled Symbian loophole 'threatens operator revenue' which details a report from consultancy Mako Analysis. Of the Symbian OS, Mako is reported as having said
"The increasing sophistication of high-end mobile devices opens up a range of additional problems and will continue to undermine the data revenue streams of mobile operators at a time when they desperately need them to be increasing."
At Mako's web site a full article is available on the topic. Mako explains that with the Symbian OS "...a savvy user can... completely bypass a range of services that are normally charged for by their mobile operator." Mako outlines four categories of services that mobile operators hope to charge for that could be impacted -- messaging, mobile music, gaming and phone personalization.

I don't suppose that Mako is aware that you don't even need Symbian -- with Java midlets, people have been avoiding operator's high prices on SMS for a few years with programs like this one.

At the same time another Register article warns of a University of Surrey study that shows that "Mobile phones drive us mental." The study warned that "...the incessant demand for instant communication heightens stress in the workplace, makes people angry and can prove to be an annoying distraction."

So perhaps instead of simply warning against smart phones, Mako should be arguing that we should do away with mobile phones altogether! Of course that would result in a somewhat larger impact on revenues for their clients...

A more useful role for a consultancy would be to advise mobile operators on how to transform their business models to take advantage of the relentless and unstoppable pace of technological innovation, as opposed to suggesting that it can in some way be halted.

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