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View Full Version : Marketing to Business Users

Robert Levy
07-19-2003, 11:09 PM
In the Smartphone newsgroup, “sebset” made a thought provoking post about the way that the Smartphone platform is being marketed. He points out that so far the emphasis has been on business users rather than typical consumers and that this approach is not the right way to go in order to capture a significant share of the market. You can read his entire message <a href="http://smartphone.modaco.com/viewtopic.php?t=87157">via MoDaCo</a> but here’s my response: They have to market successfully to carriers in order to ever have an opportunity to market to consumers. <!> When you step back and look at the big picture, the approach they are taking makes sense. Before Microsoft can market to the public, they have to market to carriers and convince them to sell Smartphone devices. To convince carriers to get on board, Microsoft has to put something interesting on the table for them. And it has to be VERY interesting because, let's face it, several companies have encountered some... uhh... "negative side effects" to partnering with Microsoft and carriers are aware of this.So what can Microsoft say to carriers to sell them on the Smartphone platform? Well... there's really only one thing that carriers are concerned with: Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). So Microsoft has to find a way to say to them "sell your customers a device running our Smartphone operating system you'll be able to generate more revenue off of them."Is the average consumer really going to be willing to send more money to their carrier each month after switching to the Smartphone platform? We'd all like to think so (Orange has even published some <a href="http://www.orange.com/English/corporate/newsreleasearticle.asp?id=74&bhcp=1">faulty statistics</a> saying its true) but until things like multiplayer games catch on I can't see it happening.On the other hand, will the business user be willing to send more money to their carrier each month after switching to the Smartphone platform? Absolutely! All they need to say are the 3 magic words "Exchange Server Synchronization" and many business users will happily sign up for GPRS service. Add in some other Smartphone features (like "Smart Dial") plus the ability to extend custom enterprise applications onto the platform and it becomes a pretty easy sale.Now this is where it gets tricky... The goal of Microsoft and manufacturers is obviously to get as many users running their platform as possible. On the other hand, carriers don't care which platform you are using as long as they are milking as much revenue as possible out of you. Microsoft wants consumers to hop on board but they <b>MUST</b> attract carriers - and to attract carriers they have to position their platform as raising the ARPU of business users.I predict that in a couple years we will see a carrier say "Hmm... what if we push this as a consumer device" and then things will get interesting (like Dell did to the Pocket PC platform) but for right now the relationship between Microsoft and carriers is not one which can handle that.

07-20-2003, 03:43 AM
If you speak about US market I agree with our analysis but in Europe the situation is completely different: customers are not at the mercy of carriers, dealing with sim-locked phones, no number portability etc.
In order to sell a phone in Europe 8) you must have a good equipment with an appealing look. I am just waiting for the Mio to be available there to replace my Samsung T100. 8)