22 thoughts on “Oh God! Yet Another Lame Carrier-Backed Mobile OS”

  1. Between open OS’s like Android and handset BOM costs dropping (making high-end phones, successfully selling w/o subsidy possible in the next couple of years), the carriers are likely to be even harder pressed to figure out where they might still actually add value.

    If operators used the same amount of software development resources to instead build their own apps (i.e. build UMA-like functions as a carrier-branded VoIP app), they might actually be able to find a place to add some value.

  2. We need ISP’s to start selling mobile data plans either by building a Wimax infrastructure or even a LTE one. ISP’s need to enter this game.

    They are already dumb pipes for PC’s so they won’t mind being dumb pipes for smartphones and tablets. While carriers are going to keep opposing this trend of turning them into dumb pipes.

  3. The one segment of stodgy corporate dominance that absolutely doesn’t get it. The Korporate Killer Klowns who haven’t moved beyond analog, rotary-dial technology.

    If they didn’t own Kongress – and peers in other lands – they’d have disappeared down the crapper long ago.

  4. There has been zero carrier driven innovation since T1 in the mid 60s when the carrier and the supplier were one (T).

    Dumb pipes are now dumber pipes. No changing this fact now. Carriers, deal with this reality vs. launching just another lame attempt at relevance.

    This is no midlife crisis, this is end of life death throes.

    My ‘carriers’ 10 years from now should be Google, Facebook, Twitter,… I will have no ‘land line’ throttling me and feeding mono/duopolies.

    1. There is one barrier to entry carriers have: they have massive army of lawyers and lobbyists who can do end run around innovation and it is the only thing I worry about.

      If there is death, it is still a long time coming.

      1. It’s not just the remaining time that’s a problem; think of how effectively said legions of lawyers and lobbyists can delay, distort and disrupt progress towards a new economic order in the industry. And since everything else in the new “new” economy depends on effective communication, they’ll severely hamper US and select other countries’ efforts to remain relevant in that new economy.

        I keep waiting for a brave President to declare that “monopolization of essential infrastructure for private profit poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” Though inarguably true, politics at that level is too heavily subsidized by T and its confrères to make such a truth politically survivable.

    2. The larger issue here is that there is an insatiable desire to turn a telco into a *sexy* media company, perhaps like MTV used to be or into a *cool* Saatchi&Saatchi (note both are heading towards extinction). Nokia has been also trying that for years-a software services company.

      All of this creates an eco-system where brilliant new innovation from external developers is shunned in the fear of cannibalizing their own junk (NIH syndrome).

      Ultimately the day telco see themselves as infrastructure companies with 2 primary objectives: 1) best network; 2) customer sat
      that’s when we will see the market flourishing for all, esp consumers.

      And I doubt that’s ever going to happen in the same way, we will ever see a day when dropped calls were the thing of the past.

  5. The carriers are finally getting their comeuppance. They screwed mobile app developers for so long that they could build the best mobile ecosystem on the planet at this point and, still, no developers would come. This is all karma for raping and bankrupting developers in the past.

    They can’t become big, fat, dumb bit pipes quickly enough, IMO.

  6. “The growing grip of Apple’s iOS/iPhone and its glimmer twin, Google Android has the entire carrier ecosystem spooked.”

    Hyperbole much? 😉

    The part about a custom OS is part of a much larger interview where CEO Stéphane Richard is talking about France Telecom’s problems and the summit on Oct. 8 is only mentioned in passing.

    Still, you’re right about mobile app developers who in the pre-iPhone era paid millions of dollars to get on carriers’s decks — especially about the dollar part, as this was a US only anomaly and the situation was (and still is) quite different in Europe.

    That said, I really don’t get the “loosing grip on customers” part: last time I checked our devices are still using some carrier’s network, aren’t they? If anything else, it seems to me we’re relying on carriers’ infrastructures and services more than ever.


    1. RT

      Sure you will pay a certain amount of $$$s for getting data and voice but they are thinking about more than just that and which is where things diverge from the market reality.

      How much money do you spend on your apps every month? And how much of that goes to the carriers. I think that is what this is all about.

  7. I think the view is rather simplistic. Yes, the carriers are losing their ability to make money off the subscribers because of the mobile OS leading the subs elsewhere. Of course the carriers will try to add more value in order to get more revenue, that they feel they are losing. They will never become fat pipes, and free, like everybody seems to wish. Instead, they will start charing more and more for the rights to use that pipe, if they can’t find other revenue streams. If it’s a matter of choosing a customer OS from them or them charging me more, I’d go for the OS. It’s simply naive to think that he operators will not try to make money. Jeez.

    1. No one is saying that carriers shouldn’t make money. The problem is that they are trying to close the door on the barn after the horse had bolted. It was something they needed to do a long time ago and not after the smartphone guys had started to come between them and the customers.

      PS: I think other comments do good job of responding to your comment in detail.

  8. Right OM.
    Agree almost on everything…and by the way, that is natural disruption watching. Its painfull.
    There is really zero innovation from carriers since they are “only” carriers. There was a time where France Telecom embedded its own pure telco R&D and most others ( BT) as well…since, these Equipment suppliers trend came and Carriers found it too easy”Just operate” equipement and solutions developped by others …and make money. They never saw Apple coming…who would bet on a device vendor…not even mobile device at that time.
    i think you are missing two points though:
    1) main point carriers are missing is “humility”. Google and app providrs make money from the offline millions third parties,merchants, publishers…not really from the subscriber who spends really a tiny part of the monthly expenses on airtime bills. Carriers havent found away to get to such…and still feel tey just need to charge more the subs. typically now that everyone has a mobile

    2) another rising difficulty is Support. When you cant access your app or having issue with it, who do you call? Appe/Google ? the tiny App provider with simply two developpers? or the carrier that you know and has free customer service?
    I think Carriers could still play a serious role just providing greater access to all these app stores and supporting them.Support is the key and missed point for even apple and google…

  9. Every once in a while these guys drink Peyote together and have these hallucinogenic visions that they are still in 2006.

    I believe this was tried before twice, once with the Symbian initiative and later LIMO. Where are those efforts today or what happened? Nothing, except another meeting to drink some more Peyote and announce the new hallucinogenic visions.

  10. Yeah these telcos are craptastic. You do realize they got billion$ in incentives from the feds with the promise that they would run FIBER OPTIC CABLE to each and every home in the USA. These scoundrels took the taxpayer money and ran with a huge ear-to-ear grin on their faces!

    These telecoms are old-school Gordon Gekko run behemoths who’s only mission in life is to stuff their fat wallets as they brutally rape the average citizen to a bloody pulp.


    I strongly suggest boycotting this proposed OS. Avoid at all costs. You can thank me later.

    Hopefully the higher tech industry will move the masses to whitespace frequency spectrum and punk the greed monsters of yesteryear into oblivion.

    Consider yourself SCHOOLED!
    Absolutely no charge for this lesson as I consider it a public service.
    They call me THE BUS DRIVER because I take everyone to school.

    – Hector

  11. Clearly none of these multi operwtor alliances gets anywhere, everyone of these operators is fighting a lonely game.

    Where they do have a real chance would be in extending the billing relatiinship, however I doubt they have understood that such an efford would require software and app like products and services in the cloud consumers loved. i have not seen one product yet from an operator into this direction executed with rigour and termination. hence my I am with Om and the developer crowd and platform players like Apple/ iTunes and others. How much longer and I only require a fat data pipe and that’s it. Would prefer to pay for that via iTunes as well… 🙂

    1. Alexander…
      I think MNOs have lost the AppStore’s billing battle . iTunes experience is clean and transparent. RIM works with Digital River for such. In-carrier Billing does exist …but requires too much integration (with each of the 300 MNOs) for global apps.

      Also, MNos would want to put these few cents/app into their complicated price plans/ volume based charging …

      The only two positions left:
      – Re-selling Smartphones …just like fat pipe, it’s more like fat reseller…works fine with the iPhone.
      – Customer Service …for the App developper, AppStore, MNO trio… none today seems to know/filter what went wrong and at which level when using/downloading an app. Imagine when Square (or any such app) fails while accepting payment? Merchant would need a real time resolution at risk of loosing his sale! …and it the issue may be at MNO network level, . AppStore hosting level. or simple App bug.
      Smart MNOs could take this role and execute it seriouly …as they have a support infrastructure already in place, even for local customers…

  12. The jeans and Ben Sherman shirt are working great. I look ridiculous to my normal friends, but dating girls 1/2 your age is fun as He11. They are impressed by a guy who can even afford dinner. So don’t knock Ben Sherman for old guys, it lands the twenty-one yr old hotties just fine.

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