Motorola – Sprint announcement may be bigger than iPhone announcement ..

Sep 28 was a big day .. Motorola and sprint demoed their new WiMAX 802.16e mobile handoffs across a Sprint brand Xohm prototype network on a boat cruising downtown Chicago’s skyscraper-canyoned mid-town river..

It was an event I was hoping to make this week but last the travel was too complex considering I am in orlando this weekend onwards chairing Mobile Web Americas

I am watching this space with great interest.

This announcement may be a game changer and bigger than the iPhone.

Unlike the iPhone announcement, which seems to have got a lot of press, the wimax demo is a fundamentally useful application and extends the network along new dimensions. Like I have always said(In an IP(IMS) world, the mobile device will drive convergence because services shift to the edge of the network – and devices are at the edge of the network ..), existing device manufacturers like Motorola and Nokia will be the big winners of the iPhone hype

Both Intel and Motorola are doing some very interesting work with Wimax

Great to see Motorola with some good news considering a few recent difficult quarters ..

More information at the Motorola site

Don’t monopolistic operators damage the competitive advantages of a country?

Here is a thought. I am a frequent visitor to a country which has an operator who is in a strong, monopolistic situation.

Every time I visit this place, I think that the operator is doing a dis-service to the nation’s entrepreneurs.

In effect, the operator benefits on a short term basis from high prices and walled gardens.

The country’s government is blinded by short term stability in the marketplace.

Meanwhile the mobile entrepreneurs suffer (or emigrate to neighbouring countries with far more enlightened governments).

Very soon I expect that other more open technologies like wimax will come along.

The operator’s profitability will drop and they will probably be acquired because like all old operators they have a high cost base

However the real loser is the country – because I suspect that its best mobile entrepreneurs and will leave for foreign lands and that’s a permanent loss to the economy!

What can you learn from Warren Buffet about Web advertising ..


As you can see, we have started to experiment with advertising on the opengardens blog. This is a part of a larger vision to launch the opengardens network .

I have always had mixed feelings about advertising. However, advertising is the currency of the web and more so – Web 2.0. Hence the strategy to launch the opengardens network funded by advertising is an effort to create a service that adds value and at the same time ‘walk the walk’ so to speak.

The decision had an unlikely inspiration – Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet‘s website)

The site itself is a classic. Have a look at it. In 2007, I have not seen anything else like it.

Sparse is the word. Very sparse.(Historically, Warren Buffet has avoided technology – and until recently did not carry a mobile phone)

At the bottom it says ‘If you have any comments about our WEB page ..’

This is not a typo

It is a “page” i.e. singular (the outbound links are either to pdfs or to other companies in the Berkshire umbrella).

There is no concept of service ( ‘ However, due to the limited number of personnel in our corporate office, we are unable to provide a direct response ‘ )

What it does have ironically is advertising ..

Blatantly so ..

Let’s start with the chairman’s message ..

Do we get a stock tip?


Instead we get three separate companies the chairman endorses ..( Geico, Borsheim and BHLN)

And no prizes for guessing who is the majority share holder in each!

And guess what provides the only spot of colour on an otherwise plain website ..

Two ads .. Again its Geico and Borsheim

The whole website and the advertisement are a surreal experience. It’s almost as if .. pal Bill Gates spoke to Warren over a steak at Gorats (You must have a Web site Warren ..) .. and the rest was put up by a kid for free ..

Which probably goes to show why Mr Buffet is a very wealthy man and why we should learn from him

If it works for Warren it may well work for the rest of us!

Image source: Wikipedia ..


Buffet’s favorite place to eat is Gorat’s Steak House in Omaha, where he always purchases a T-bone steak (cooked rare), a double order of hash browns, and Cherry Coke. )

We are experimenting with Advertising on the blog ..

We are experimenting with Advertising on the blog .. apologies for any inconvinience as we test things out

Myspace on mobile is now free .. so, now what happens to vodafone’s myspace?

Myspace on mobile is now free .. so, now what happens to vodafone’s myspace?

This much touted ‘exclusive’ deal is actually £1.50/month!

Or am I missing something here?

The decline of traditional media: the Sun for 20pence

For the last couple of weeks .. I notice in central London – people offering to sell you the sun newspaper for 20p.

They make a sad sight.

They try hard. Yet I see no one actually buying it.

Because .. just down the road is another vendor giving out a free newspaper ..

Is this the state of things to come?

Only a few years ago, post dot com, traditional media seemed invincible – now I see a graphic illustration of its potential demise ..

India win 20/20 cricket series ..

India win 20/20 cricket series ..

Congrats to India.

Thats one of the advantages of having triple nationality(all cricket playing). You can choose to cheer for the winning side :)

Burma ..

Lets hope this is the start of something big and a better / more open life for the people of Burma ..

How do you define ‘Open’?

This might come as an odd question coming from the OpenGardens blog .. But how do you define ‘Open’?

I was chairing the Mobile User Generated Content and Social Networking Forum 2007 in Rome a couple of weeks back .. When I had this conversation with Caroline sexton Vodafone Group Services

Caroline said that MySpace was more open than Facebook ..

To me, that did not sound right .. But her view was .. In MySpace, you can contact anybody .. Whereas in facebook – you only contact people directly in your network

Hence, she felt that MySpace was more open than facebook

In contrast, my view was: Facebook is more open(mainly due to its open APIs for third parties)

Both views are correct of course ..

However, this raises an interesting question: What is ‘Open’?

When I first co-wrote OpenGardens (with Tony Fish) .. We were an industry oddity.

Walled Gardens ruled ..

Today .. The tables have been turned .. And the tide is unrelenting against the walled gardens mentality ..

However, open still means different things for different people

A few still confuse ‘open’ with open source .. Which is of course a completely different concept

But to me, Open means three things

a) The customer’s experience of a product or service should not be restricted either physically(only allowing access to some sites) or technologically(proprietary technology)

b) A more deeper concept of transparency – for instance – phone bills which are not transparent. For instance see this example of roaming charges ..

c) Interoperability

Clearly, there are many differences in view point ..

In general, my belief if: technologies that allow multiple networks types to users(Wifi, Wimax etc) are good because they give the customer choice. As regards why this is good .. see Of OpenGardens, Walled Gardens, Coffee, Fax machines, Ostriches, Dodos and User generated content and this was the same theme of my talk at the European parliament ..

I am going to continue exploring these themes since there is much to explore and its critical to the industry as a whole ..

So, qs is: What do you mean by Open?

The litmus test: Will the litmus paper turn Orange ..

We are all familiar with the Litmus test – where the Litmus paper turns Red or Blue depending on the acidic / alkaline nature of the chemical.

As an industry, we are facing our own acid test …

Orange has excluded both Nokia and Motorola from it’s list of Christmas handsets. As I said in the chicken or the egg blog, customers always choose a device first ..

And hence the litmus test. Will they choose ‘Orange’ over the devices (which Orange has now excluded)

Here is a clue .. Dean Bubley laments Orange’s user interface on Sony Ericsson devices – and he is a SE fan!

Either way – it’s a horrible user experience and reflects negatively on both operator and handset vendor. Will it increase his spending on new & wonderful multimedia services or improve loyalty? Yeah right.

Perhaps phones are like cars…. the people who design them best are the original designers, especially non-smart featurephones. I don’t add on nasty bits of plastic from Halfords to modify my car, and I don’t want nasty bits of software modifying my phone.

If an industry veteran like Dean cannot work it out .. I think Orange has a problem ..

The real issue is: This is not the time to play games .. Customers are going to compare the poor interface with the iPhone .. And guess who will win?

I am watching this with interest!

Orange is getting some things right(especially Martin Duvall’s team – more on that soon) – but this is not one of them!