Vodafone & Wayfinder

Thomas Husson

Vodafone announced thisweek a recommended cash offer to acquire Wayfinder Systems AB. This is not a done deal yet but my first take is:

- Wayfinder like other software vendors really pioneered the market for navigation on mobile phones. Initially, the Swedish company (at that time named Itinerary systems) started in as a R&D project in the mobile phone division of Ericsson in the 90s! It is thus no surprise that Wayfinder recently announced an intensification of its global collaboration on GPS handsets with Sony Ericsson, one of its main clients. Back in July 2007, the company acquired Finnish application provider Navicore.

- According to its interim report (ending September 30th 2008), Wayfinder wanted to focus on a small number of global partners and to planned to reduce costs by 30% in 2009. The company reported close to 2,5M activated user accounts but only 294,000 paying users, who had activated a paid for application in the past 18 months. Vodafone's offering value Wayfinder at around €23M. I am not a financial analyst so I won't comment the cash offer in detail but from an industry perspective, it seems to me:

* this is a small amount of money for a global operator like Vodafone

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Mobile gaming $

Thomas Husson

Following the publication of this article in Moconews, I had a call with Greg Ballard, CEO of mobile gaming company GLU.

Glu is adamant that despite a smaller size than EA Mobile or Gameloft, the company is very well placed in porting games on the balkanized mobile handset market. He righlty pointed out that if smaller in revenues, Glu has a scalable business and claimed to be ahead of its competitors in some regions of the world (n2 after EA in the US and after Gameloft in Latam, n1 in China and Australia). He also made the point that Tetris still represents a significant chunk of EA revenues. Looking back at the Jamdat acquisition in December 2005, I have no other choice than to agree.

So, let me precise that my comment "the larger companies have economies of scales that their smaller rival doesn’t" mainly addresses the smaller players in the mobile gaming industry. Despite consolidation that took place over the last few years, this market is still very fragmented. Also, it is fair to point out that Gameloft's developer/production/porting teams represent close to 90% of the workforce (and thousands of employees). But I am not a financial analyst so I can't really make a call here.

However, I still believe that:

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Apple AppStore - Top Apps

Thomas Husson

eApple recently released its top downloaded applications on the AppStore since launch in July 08. No mention of the split here between apps downloaded on the iPhone and on the iPod touch.

Top 10 Free Downloads (Overall). My comments in italic

1-Pandora Radio (music, 2 million iPhone subs who spend 90 minutes listening on average)
2-Facebook (social networking)
3-Tap Tap Revenge (game)
4-Shazam (music)
5-Labyrinth Lite Edition (game)
6-Remote (entertaining app)
7-Google Earth (only launched 2 months ago!)
8-Lightsaber Unleashed (cool and fun app, close to a game for Dark Vador fans...)
9-AIM (highlights the strength of AOL Instant Messaging in the US vs Europe)
10-Urbanspoon

My first take:

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NFC Made Me Believe In Mobile Marketing

Shar VanBoskirk

The last day of Nokia World, I interviewed Jeremy Belostock, the Head of NFC for Nokia's Device Experiences group.

NFC -- for those of you non-gadget types, like myself -- stands for "near field communication."  And it is basically a functionality which allows mobile handsets to have "contactless" communication with other handsets, ear pieces, keyboards, other devices, even with out of home media, product packaging, kiosks, turnstiles, or anything where you can enbed an NFC-smartcard.  Think of NFC as a tooll which allows you to use your mobile phone as your subway pass, your credit card, your change at a vending machine, or as a way to interact with media for additional information or promotions. 

There are a few hurdles keeping NFC from becoming a mainstream application:

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Still Nothing Happening in Mobile Marketing

Shar VanBoskirk

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

I'm at an event in Europe.

Sponsored by Nokia.

And still only talk about the "eventual opportunity" of mobile marketing. 

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The Future of Mobile Devices: Services?

Nokia Creates The Personal Internet

Shar VanBoskirk

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

In this morning's opening remarks and keynote sessions, Olli-Pekka Kallasvio introduced the theme for Nokia World and the primary driver of Nokia's:  To translate the internet into *your* internet.  This means not only enabling customization of sites or content, but of course literally getting any information *you* need to live your life directly into your pocket.

Phrased differently, Nokia wants to put in your hand the power to be more in tune to the world around you.

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Live From Nokia World

Shar VanBoskirk

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

This week, I join my colleagues Ben Gray, Chris Silva, Simon Yates and Jaap Favier in Barcelona at Nokia World 2008.  The event is Nokia's annual showcase to announce new products, demo existing capabilities, and share innovations in mobillity to clients, partners, media, and industry analysts.

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Customer Reference Programs Survey Link

Laura Ramos

For those of you frustrated by the survey tool at which I pointed my last post, I would like to apologize for wasting your time and missing the opportunity to engage you when you were most interested.

Merv and I are are providing expertise and contributing the Forrester brand name to the Customer Reference Forum for this survey.  We are not  working directly with the survey execution team. The CRF has been terrific to work with, but I did not check a few of the small details on survey access parameters before posting this and now those details have bitten me as links that don't work or make the survey look closed when it is not.  This is also why I haven't replied in Web 2.0-time to your posts pointing out the problem.

I think the area of research will prove very interesting as we bring it out early next year.  For those of you still willing to participate -- thank you so much for your patience! -- you can find the survey link here.

Again, thanks for your patience and support on this.

Customer Reference Programs: Going Social?

Laura Ramos

Lauraramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

Great customer references fuel great B2B marketing. But getting customers to testify or submit case studies is challenging. Good references require investment. But how do you keep customers from feeling like shills for their vendor firms? By involving them in communities of like-minded advocates! That is one hypothesis I plan to explore further in 2009 -- investigating the connection between social activity and greater customer advocacy.

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