In a world full of answers you start your journey by asking the right questions
As I said last week this is a new experience for Google because they have never had any “real” customers before… just traffic. What you need to succeed in the Mobile space is great Customer Relationship Management. Get that right and the rest is relatively easy.
Plus, if Google fails to sell large numbers of the Nexus One then what does it say about customer loyalty to the Google Brand compared to the Apple “Lovemark”. Even more interestingly what does it say about Google, and by extension the Internet, as a direct market and advertising platform?
Anyway one week on and Fox Business has a Prediction: Google’s Gonna Kill the Nexus One. Why? Retailing hardware isn’t what business Google is in and Google’s damaging its brand name.
Even GigaOm is following the trend with a piece today called Should Google Kill the Nexus One?
It may be unfair to predict doom for a handset that came to market just two weeks ago, but it’s becoming clear that taking on the role of mobile retailer was a mistake for Google. It’s too early to predict that Google will kill the Nexus One, but it’s not too early to wonder whether it should.
Business Insider have run a piece on Why is the Nexus One expected to do so relatively poorly? They give three reasons:
- It’s only on T-Mobile. Though, this will change when Google adds Verizon as a carrier.
- No marketing. Verizon is spending $80-$100 million advertising the Droid. Apple has its ubiquitous “there’s an app for that.” Google is only advertising online.
- It’s not in stores. The Nexus One is only available online, so consumers might hesitate to purchase something they’ve never seen. Mark thinks Google should push to get it in Verizon or T-Mobile stores.
The key statement here for me is Google is only advertising online. This gets back to my ongoing question about the effectiveness of online advertising in the “real world”.
On the up side both GigaOm and Business Insider are running stories on Why Nexus One Will Make Money for Google based on analysis provided by Citigroup.
Citi estimates Google will sell 1-3 million Nexus One handsets this year.
For context, Apple shipped 5.4 millon iPhones in its first year, Palm could ship 2.5 million Pre and Pixi units in its first year, and Motorola Droid shipments could reach 7.5 million in its first year, Citi estimates.
Anyway so much for last week’s news. Let’s move on to more current topics.
Of more interest to me today is the news from Business Insider that Microsoft Readies Secret iPhone Killer and from RIS that Motorola is Launching a Mobile Loyalty Solution & Service To Digitize Store Card Plan.
The New Plastic – Motorola Style
Let’s begin by taking a quick look at the Motorola announcement.
As retailers ramp up efforts to digitize store branded cards and foster customer relationships via new touch points, Motorola is seizing the opportunity to influence customers in-store with the launch its new Mobile Loyalty Solution.
The solution is designed to approach loyalty with a ”closed-loop” system that allows retailers to maintain a rich database of shopper product interests, purchase habits and preferences.
As I’ve said before your “New Plastic” strategy could take shape in one of three ways.
The question is how do you want to plug into your customer’s Mobile Life?
Where is Micosoft’s iClone?
Now turning our attention to Microsoft we find that, as Wired has pointed out in Congratulations, Google. You’ve spent untold millions of dollars to produce another iPhone — two years late, Google’s mobile strategy was to do what Microsoft did to Personal Computing back in the early 1990′s. Commoditize the hardware and force all the business value into their software and apps platform.
The question always was why hasn’t Microsoft pursued the same strategy? After all they invented it.
As I pointed out in What’s on Microsoft’s Radar? Microsoft’s whole MobCon strategy needs to be revamped. The question is can they do it with an iClone strategy? The short answer is maybe. The long answer is it will be difficult. The next question is should they try?
Microsoft are the past masters at securing market leadership by employing the Me2 strategy. Think Windows, Think Word, Think Excel Think Xbox, Think… Microsoft entered the market late with all of these flagship products and still went on to dominate.
However the iPod clone (the Zune) proves that Microsoft doesn’t always get the Me2 right. Plus there is the Windows Vista experience and the ongoing security problems with Windows and IE. So it is fair to say customers may have concerns over Microsoft’s ability to deliver a high quality mobile experience.
Last week GigaOm took a quick look at how Microsoft can get back in the mobile game suggesting they try making Windows Mobile free to manufacturers and build a top-notch app store designed for business users.
The problem with that is it would be a case of too little too late. The real question is what, if anything, has Microsoft learnt from Nokia and Google’s efforts to re-revolutionise the Mobile Phone Industry over the past 2 – 3 years? At the moment, at least in the US, there appears to be only one player in the game. After all the market place is buzzing in expectation of what new products Apple will be bringing to market later this month. (See Apple rumor roundup: future of media edition).
The reality is, for Microsoft to win this game, they may have to change the game plan, abandon the Me2 and go looking for the next generation of mobile convergence technologies. So the real question is can Microsoft re-innovate, re-invigorate and re-invent itself in time to catch the next wave of the MobCon?
Then again why don’t they stop playing games and just release a mobile Xbox with an inbuilt phone and camera. After all what is the iPhone if it’s not a mobile entertainment device?
The New York Times asks “What would happen if [Google] made the Google name worth paying extra for?” in Does Being Free Cheapen Google’s Brand? and also provides us with A Big-Picture Look at Google, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo by comparing the MobCon investments of each player in a chart. This chart provides an interesting comparative study with the MobCon radars posted for Microsoft, Yahoo!, Apple and Google in October and November last year.
Meanwhile Venturebeat asks the question Is Microsoft getting ready to launch a “Zune Phone”?
“Microsoft has struggled for some time with its Zune portable media device, but with the latest iteration — the Zune HD — it seems to have finally figured out how to differentiate the device from the iPod. Now Microsoft may be setting its sights on the iPhone by delivering a smartphone version of the Zune powered by Windows Mobile.”