Who’s lunch is it anyway?

During the current announcement session in the Telecoms and IT sectors, Nokia, HTC and HP, all  broke news regarding new products, along with numerous other companies.

These three are particularly interesting, as they highlights the growing trend for equipment vendors to compete directly with network operators, by offering their own services.

Nokia_ovi… announced at Nokia’s Go Play event on 29th August. Even before the Nokia announcement was made, Orange were already spoiling the party, over a clash with its own music service.

Presumably Orange are taking the same stance with Apple, hence the delay in the long awaited iPhone announcement in France! (Which has still not taken place, even though the Apple Expo is currently running in Paris.)

Vodafone on the other hand are much more sanguine, with Jens Schulte-Bockum, Global Director of Terminals at Vodafone Group reportedly stating "We’re not necessarily hostile as a matter of principle to the idea that vendors like Nokia implement relevant services on handsets"

Htc_logo … on the same day that Orange were making their opening salvo against Ovi, HTC announced the launch of the TyTN II and its availability on Orange , amongst others. The release came complete with quotes on the email friendliness of the device, from an Orange Executive.

The same release also contained the announcement of HTCmail, a hosted Microsoft Exchange email solution. A remarkably different in approach from Orange towards HTCmail and Ovi. Have Orange given up on VAS revenues from email? Are they happy to take the bearer related revenues only?

Hp_logo_2… 5th September came and HP expanded their range of iPAQ products and announced a number of additional business services, including HP iPAQ Location Based Service, HP iPAQ Custom Touch and HP Total Care.

We take this a signs of a coming resurgence of HP in the mobile market, not only are they strengthening their portfolio, but they are showing the beginnings of a serious proposition for business. They could indeed threaten the likes of RIM (if they can crack email), HTC and Palm.

We have obviously not cover the iPhone, as this has already been covered exhaustively elsewhere, but the implications of the moves by Apple, Nokia, HTC and HP are clear. Given the squeeze on margins amongst manufacturers (the trials and tribulations of Motorola have been well documented), either they need to address their cost base, encourage repeat purchases through the deployment of "sticky" solutions or develop alternative revenue streams, risking potential retribution from the Operators. On the other hand operators need to learn, as Vodafone seem to have done, to co-exist in this reality or run the risk of realising their ultimate nightmare – becoming a bit pipe!