Feeds

Windows Phone 7's best feature? It's not made by Google

'Tiles and hubs' aside, it's really fast and easy

Boost IT visibility and business value

Admittedly it's hard to feel a lot of sympathy for the operators. The people who brought you WAP and walled gardens have consistently failed to develop new, interesting and useful services of their own, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Apple to where they are today. The smartphone market only became a mass market after there was a truly easy-to-use device - but also because data plans are now bundled with devices, and removed the "sticker shock" fear of high data bills. Apple arm-wrestled the operators into these deals, and set the standard - the smartphone user now taking out a contract expects a reasonable amount of data to be included in the price.

The networks complain about services dealing directly with the customer - but that's exactly what services do. How many operator-created services can you name that have captured the popular imagination? 3 is consistently the most innovative operator, but it's partnered (with Microsoft, Skype and Spotify) rather than developed its own services. And Orange Wednesdays doesn't count - it's not a service, it's a marketing promotion.

If operators fear that Google and Apple are sucking value out of the service layer, then they should develop their own. There's little point in trying to ape Facebook or Twitter. But there's plenty of opportunity for being an enabler to established business services that need some kind of voice or data communication - your bank, supermarket or insurance company for example. There are other gaps to be filled, such as such as backup. And it's astonishing that realtime group messaging is owned by Blackberry, with its BBM. Texts have been bundled for years now, so why allow a proprietary manufacturer to own what should be an open industry standard?

The role of the operator is much diminished, but it's still the best hope for Microsoft and other platform companies seeking to elbow Android aside. For now, the advantage for Microsoft is a negative one - they're not someone else. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.