Archive for December, 2006

Beyond the Phone: December 2006

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Converging products into a cellphone is one way that mobility is getting built into every product, but it’s not the only way. Every month, I’ll focus on devices that are integrating the power of mobility into products themselves in ways that create new value for the customer. Power up!

#4: Biggest Stories of 2006: Motorola, Qualcomm, and Nokia acquisitions

Monday, December 25th, 2006

This was a banner year of big acquisitions by major mobility technology vendors, demonstrating that several aspects of the mobility revolution are reaching critical periods of growth and maturity. Here’s a quick rundown of the key transactions by date:

“SAN DIEGO — January 19, 2006 — QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading developer and innovator of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and other advanced wireless technologies, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Flarion Technologies, a pioneer and leading developer of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access (OFDMA) technology and the inventor of FLASH-OFDM® technology for mobile broadband Internet protocol (IP) services. The acquisition expands QUALCOMM’s already extensive portfolio of OFDMA intellectual property and enhances the Company’s engineering team with expertise in OFDMA technology and products.”

February 10, 2006 “New York, NY, USA -Nokia (NYSE: NOK) today announced it has completed its acquisition of Intellisync, a leader in platform-independent wireless messaging and applications for mobile devices. As a result of the acquisition, Intellisync common stock is no longer publicly traded and each share of Intellisync common stock has been converted into the right to receive $5.25 in cash. The transaction will enhance Nokia’s ability to respond to customer needs and effectively puts Nokia at the core of any mobility solution for businesses of all sizes. Intellisync’s entire product range will continue to be sold under the Intellisync name as part of Nokia’s business mobility solutions software business line within its Enterprise Solutions business group.”

“SCHAUMBURG, Ill. 18 April 2006 — Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Orthogon Systems, a privately held, leading provider of high-performance fixed wireless solutions. The addition will expand the MOTOwi4 portfolio of IP, wireless broadband solutions. Orthogon’s industry leading expertise in wireless Ethernet connectivity is highly strategic to Motorola’s rapidly growing wireless broadband business. A pioneer in intelligent OFDM-based, wireless IP, point-to-point transmission solutions, Orthogon has developed and successfully marketed innovative, software-defined Ethernet bridges. With this acquisition Motorola will enhance its OFDM capability and broaden the support of its MOTOwi4 wireless broadband offerings — including WiMAX, Mesh Solutions and Canopy products — and accelerate the growth of its existing wireless IP access business. Motorola expects to advance Orthogon core technology to build it into a series of future products.”

“SAN DIEGO — August 18, 2006 — QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading developer and innovator of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and other advanced wireless technologies, today announced that it will acquire San Diego-based Qualphone Inc., a leading provider of IP-based Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) embedded client software solutions for mobile devices and interoperability testing (IOT) services. The acquisition of Qualphone’s products and resources will help QUALCOMM further accelerate the delivery of multimedia-capable, feature-rich 3G solutions on top of the emerging IMS and Multi Media Domain (MMD) architectures to WCDMA/UMTS and CDMA2000® markets. Completion of the acquisition is expected later this month.”

“SCHAUMBURG, Ill. and HOLTSVILLE, NY — 19 September 2006 — Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Symbol Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: SBL) announced today that the two companies have signed a definitive merger agreement, under which Motorola has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Symbol for $15 per share in cash. The transaction has a total equity value of approximately $3.9 billion on a fully-diluted basis. As of June 30, 2006, Symbol had approximately $200 million of net cash. Symbol is a leader in designing, developing, manufacturing and servicing products and systems used in end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions featuring rugged mobile computing, advanced data capture, radio frequency identification (RFID), wireless infrastructure and mobility management. The company’s products and services help customers increase workforce productivity, improve customer service and enhance operational efficiencies by delivering information in real-time, as people, information and assets are on-the-move. Symbol is recognized as an industry leader in technology innovation, with a world-class product portfolio and valuable intellectual property. In addition, Symbol has a strong partner network and possesses deep domain knowledge and expertise in key verticals including retail, travel and transportation, manufacturing, wholesale distribution and healthcare.”

October 12, 2006 “Espoo, Finland and Berlin, Germany – Nokia today announced that it has completed its acquisition of gate5 AG, a leading supplier of mapping, routing and navigation software and services. The acquisition of gate5 is an important step in developing the new product category of multimedia computers that offer people multiple ways to connect to information, entertainment and other people. In the end of September, Nokia introduced the Nokia N95 multimedia computer with integrated GPS and navigation functionality. The Nokia N95 maps and navigation application is based on the gate5 software platform.”

October 16, 2006 “Espoo, Finland/Seattle, USA – Nokia (NYSE: NOK) today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Loudeye Corp. (Nasdaq: LOUD), a global leader of digital music platforms and digital media distribution services. ‘With this acquisition completed, Nokia is on target to deliver the best fully integrated mobile music experience to our customers during 2007,’ said Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president and general manager, Multimedia, Nokia. ‘This new team brings the enthusiasm and expertise that make experiences such as our recently announced Music Recommenders service possible. Our vision is to enable people to access all the music they want, anywhere, anytime and at a reasonable cost; this is driving the development of our music offering.'”

“SCHAUMBURG, Ill., and SANTA CLARA, Calif., 10 November 2006 – Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Good Technology, Inc. today announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement under which Motorola will acquire privately held Good Technology, a leader in enterprise mobile computing software and service. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Good Technology, based in Santa Clara, is a strategic addition to Motorola’s Mobile Devices business. The acquisition will extend Motorola’s mobile computing capabilities and increase the company’s enterprise client base. Good Technology’s wireless messaging, data access and handheld security offerings provide intuitive and advanced productivity solutions for mobile professionals with enterprise-level device security and management.”

“SAN DIEGO — November 16, 2006 — QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading provider of business-to-business wireless enterprise applications and services, today announced that it has acquired Chicago-based nPhase LLC, a leading provider of machine-to-machine solutions that allow enterprises to manage and monitor widely dispersed, fixed machine assets. The acquisition of nPhase helps reinforce QUALCOMM’s leadership position in the evolving machine-to-machine market.”

I think Motorola’s Ed Zander summed it up pretty well in explaining the Symbol acquisition:

“Everything is going digital, and everything digital is going mobile – this is especially evident in the way businesses are run today. Motorola and Symbol share the same vision of a digital, mobile world for enterprises that matches the world people enjoy at home and at play.”

Another End of Month, Another Holiday

Monday, December 25th, 2006

As I noted last month, holidays seem to translate into slow news weeks.

But, just like last month, Christmas (et al) lines up well with the end of the month when I’ve got nearly a handful of once-a-month summaries I can use to fill the space/time while slowly filling up my normal weekly news categories over two weeks instead of just one.

Of course, I’ll continue the countdown of the top 10 news stories of 2006 as well.

Enjoy. And Merry Christmas!!!

#5: Biggest Stories of 2006: Mobile Revenue passes Wireline

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

According to Philip Redman, research vice president at Gartner, service revenues from wireless services will exceed those from fixed lines by the end of this year. Gartner estimates that 3 billion of the world’s 6.5 billion people will be mobilites by 2010. What makes this truly amazing is that less than 10% of the world’s population has ever made a telephone call, and now, within just a few years, nearly half will be mobile users.

The ITU Internet Report titled digital.life observes that “the number of mobile phones users worldwide passed the 2 billion mark in late 2005. While it took around 21 years to reach the first billion users, the second billion signed up in just the three years. By contrast, it took some 125 years to reach the first billion fixed lines users.”

3G usage is also surging. By the end of 2005, there were about 60 million 3G users worldwide. That number passed 100 million in June of this year and Strategy Analytics estimates it will reach 167 million by the end of this year. They further predict that more than half of mobilites will be on 3G by 2010.

All of these facts and projections are clear indications of the trajectory of the mobility revolution.

Many of us still think of mobility as merely telecom taken with us as we go. That might be a telephone that stays with us, or it might be a broadband connection that is available all the time, wherever we are. In effect, we are thinking of mobility as an incremental extension of the telecom industry.

These facts blow that notion out of the water.

More people are using mobile phones than phones. Soon, more devices will be on broadband wireless than fixed broadband connections, and those devices will be available and used more frequently to do more things than traditional PCs. This alone will transform the way that people interact with the world, and naturally, the best information sources will change the way they work to match their audience.

The most powerful differentiator for mobility over fixed communications is the availability of context. The collection of contextual information available in the mobile era will continue to expand making the relevance of my communications experience to where I am, who I’m with, what I’m doing, where I’m going, what time it is, how traffic is, what the weather is, what my heart rate is, who I just met with, who I’m about to meet with, etc. dramatically richer and more valuable.

As mobile telecom continues to grow and dwarf fixed telecom, expect everything to change.

This is not just “big news” but also “real news.” 2006: the year fixed telephony tipped towards irrelevancy?

Enabling Technology: Week of 12/17/06

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

The Law of Mobility talks about value increasing with mobility. The impact of this law is being felt because the barriers to building mobility in are being obliterated week after week. Here are examples of technology advances enabling this to happen:

Full list here.

Indicators: Week of 12/17/06

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

More and more, the world around us reflects the growing assumption of the law of mobility. Each week we will track indicators of Mobility’s growing importance in our businesses, our lives, and our society:

Full list here.

#6: Biggest Stories of 2006: 3’s X-series

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

In November, 3, the global mobile operator, announced what was perceived to be a radical new approach to mobile services. They called it the “X-series,” which of course got everyone wondering what an X-series really is.

As I noted at the time, “Well, it’s a new pricing plan for broadband mobile. It’s new ‘cutting edge’ handsets. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s a bundle of disruptive applications.”

This was all new for 3 and got lots and lots of attention.

When the pricing was finally announced, there basically were two tiers of service. For an incremental 5GBP on top of the subscriber’s cellphone plan, the customer would get unlimited (sort of) broadband wireless Internet access, including easy access to “disruptive” applications such as Skype, Google search, and Yahoo messaging. For another 5GB, she’d also get access to “disruptive” applications (Slingbox or Orb) to watch her television across the network.

Wow! Cool stuff. Big news! Even now, a month later, there are still 394 news items listed at Google News for the x-series.

But, what here is new?

Cool new handsets come out all the time. Will 3 be able to always pick the newest and coolest? (They’ve already struggled to get more than one handset out the door…)

Carriers already offer unlimited broadband wireless Internet access in the 5-10GBP range.

And carriers are always juggling the applications that are easy for their subscribers to get to, including “disruptors” like Yahoo, Microsoft Live, YouTube, and Loopt.

So, is 3’s X-Series real news? Undoubtedly so for 3’s existing customers who apparently haven’t had the benefit of all these capabilities up until now.

But none of this is as revolutionary as some of the capabilities that are starting to appear that really leverages the context of the mobile user in ways that have been impossible in the pre-mobile Internet era. What 3’s X-series represents is “just” the Internet taken mobile. What context-relevance represents is the full mobility revolution.

This is the last of the “big news” but “no news” stories of the year. The next five will be “big news” and “real news” stories. Stay tuned!

Capturing the Power: Week of 12/17/06

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

Managing the Danger: Week of 12/17/06

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

In order to be winners in the new mobile era, businesses will not only need to capture the power of mobility, but also manage the danger. Highlighted below are recent examples of the danger of mobility and how some firms are beginning to manage it:

The complete list is here.

#7: Biggest Stories of 2006: .mobi

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Get this. A company is formed whose investors include Ericsson, Google, GSM Association, Hutchison, Microsoft, Nokia, Orascom Telecom, Samsung Electronics, Syniverse, T-Mobile, Telefónica Móviles, TIM and Vodafone. This company’s goal is to provide “the critical link between the mobile operator, Internet services and the users to make their mobile devices the Internet and communication tool of choice.” Seems like this company, with it’s investors, would understand the space and be able to make a real impact towards that goal.

The way they set about to achieve that goal was to create a new top level Internet domain (TLD). The general idea being that everyone would want to create a parallel website uniquely designed to work well on mobile devices. In July 2005, the company gained approval from the Internet registrars to create and manage the .mobi TLD. In May 2006, the company started taking initial applications for .mobi domains. The scope of these registrations was broadened in June and then again in September. “More than 13,000” domains were registered in the first few months.

All this sure sounds like “big news” for 2006, and with the combined PR heft of the above mentioned companies, .mobi did gain lots of coverage in the first half of the year.

However, given that even obscure TLDs like .info have thousands of new domains registered each day

And, given that existing web standards, like the CSS Mobile Profile (from the W3C, whose members include Ericsson, Google, Hutchison, Microsoft, Nokia, Telefónica, and Vodafone) have already solved this problem in a way that doesn’t require creating a parallel web site…

And, given that any domain with .mobi in it will be harder to tap into a mobile device than the same domain but with .com or .net or just about any other top level domain…

…maybe the official launch of the .mobi domain isn’t real news after all.

Unfortunately, this is yet another “big news” but “no news” story for 2006. But don’t worry, we’re nearing the end of the first half of the list and will soon be moving onto big news stories that really were and will continue to be big news.

Stay tuned!