The Challenge to Mobile Content Providers as Internet Companies Go Mobile

While Yahoo and Google further go mobile, talks between such internet giants including Microsoft and the telcos are still in progress regarding sharing the cost of operating broadband networks or ‘paying for the pipes’ telcos have invested in. Hopefully, it gets settled soon and charges do not get passed on to users, as British internet companies fear. It will ultimately need political support and intervention, as had been scheduled. We’ll see how that turns out.

Internet companies, in the meantime, will now share mobile companies’ old and continuing challenge to set-up business models that will work with the telcos. The mostly ‘free’ or advertising-supported applications of such internet companies do not always directly offer compensation to the network service provider, hence the challenge. Fortunately, mobile companies may have an immediate advantage being more familiar with crafting business models easy. But, when a compromise is finally set, mobile companies may be in for a rough ride if unprepared.

Beyond innovation, mobile companies should integrate and focus to compete.

Integrate. Mobile companies should be prepared to develop web services and adjust business models in order to complement pure mobile services. Internet companies have the existing relationships with media content players to easily become mobile content providers themselves. This, not to mention their advantage of having web services infrastructure already in place to provide more complete solutions for users. Long term, integrating also readies mobile companies for ubiquitous computing.

Focus. The mobile industry has gone through its own boom, bubble and bust. Lessons must have been learned. A focus on the essence of mobile services to help bring out its competitive advantage against or in cooperation the with the web and at the same time be of the most service to users will be best.

Both mobile and internet companies will have their fair share of lessons and adjustments as far as integration is concerned–internet going mobile and mobile services having web service counterparts. We will see telcos be tested with the movement for network neutrality led by internet companies while supported and followed by hardware vendors. At least finally, real and actual convergence may not be too far off and everyone, mobile and internet companies alike must be prepared.

The most successful mobile companies will be the ones that truly understand mobility and web 2.0. Ajit Joakar has posed important questions worth considering as he pondered upon the impact of web2.0 on mobility as well as why AJAX will be the hallmark of mobile web 2.0. Take a look at the article at mobile applications forum at Ecademy or at Sys-con.


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