Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Skype on N97: No Thanks.

When I first saw the announcement that Nokia was going to bundle Skype into the N97, I was a bit surprised.

If you recall, it was barely 6 months ago Nokia said they were pulling the VoIP hooks out of the S60 OS.

And now they are going to actually put a full Skype client bundled into the device? Wow.

I think mobile operators have barely tolerated the fact that users may be able to download a VoIP client onto an open platform phone. But when a major vendor comes out and says they are going to wrap a competing voice service...I think the FierceVoIP headline says it best: “Skype on Nokia N97 invokes wrath of carriers.”

What is going on in Finland? These seem like the moves of a desperate company that can’t decide on a strategy. Typically, Nokia charts a course and executes it. But when it comes to VoIP, it seems like they can’t decide in what direction to go.

I know I’m a bit biased, but this seems easy to me:

Nokia, your bread gets its butter from mobile service providers. In turn, the primary revenue for mobile service providers is voice and SMS. Bundling a service onto your product that directly competes with your customers' primary revenue generating service (or even providing the hooks for it) seems like a bad idea.

If only there was a VoIP service that was designed BY mobile operators FOR mobile operators. Hummm… what was the name of it again???? It’s starts with a U…

Rather than fighting against the wishes of the mobile operators, why don’t you give them what they want? Put UMA on all those cool N and E phones that already have Wi-Fi.


In a discussion I had at MWC on this very topic, an analyst told me they thought Nokia’s long-term secret plan is to use its service portal Ovi as a VoIP hub, basically competing directly with its customers.

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