Michael Vakulenko writes an interesting post on the gap in mobile services between the handset OEM’s and the big Internet Platforms such as Google and Microsoft. This has been pretty widely known but he does a nice job of outlining where the gaps are by competitor (see chart below).
The results are pretty predictable: Apple is the leader with a well integrated phone and delivery system. Nokia…well, they try hard although the results aren’t always what they’d like and RIM is struggling along as well. The rest (Samsung, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, HTC, LG) are all lagging badly. Vakulenko ends with a rather pessimistic assessment: If Nokia couldn’t transform its hardware oriented soul into a software/services machine, what chance do the rest of these guys have?
Good question, and one that I’ve thought about a lot, especially from a location standpoint. The problem is that, while there are companies that can fill any of these boxes with a point solution, the integration of these into a smooth services offering is a herculean task. Companies that offer the point solutions think they can make a compelling case but the reality, from the perspective of the handset OEM is that they need someone to do a massive integration job before any one piece has value. While Vakulenko addresses this to handset OEM’s, I think the same picture confronts the wireless carriers who would also like a piece of the services action.
So there seems to be a business there, not for a point solution but for a white labeled mobile services platform that includes advertising, location based services, messaging, content services and cloud services. Not as stand-alone offerings but as an integrated whole. Who will jump in that gap?
My guess: look for the major domain vendors to fill it: IBM, HP, Alcatel-Lucent all have a start in this space. They have the customer relationships and the scale to make the integration happen.