Thursday, September 13, 2007

O2 Man Lynched By Rabid Operators For Breaking Ranks

Peter Erskine of O2 was recently quoted in the Times: "If sharing revenue brings a bigger pie to the table, then we’ll be happy to share that pie".

Some have claimed he is laying the groundwork for O2 to announce the Apple iPhone. Maybe. But that's small fry when you consider what a radical change of direction this would be for a mobile operator. Think of it - voluntarily taking less than a 100% cut in anything, in order to allow a market to grow? Where's the sense in that? What operator would ever want to share a large market when they could dominate and suffocate a tiny one?

This sort of radical talk is unheard of outside of Japan, where mobile content ecosystems flourish and the rest of the value chain gets to keep 90%, compared to the anaemic 30-50% that is stifling every other mobile content market in the world - a sort of reverse of Bonsai gardening where the Japanese encourage growth and everyone else restricts it. It flies in the face of every 60-70% premium SMS margin the operators have gouged for so many years.

Could it be one lone man's dream, Peter Erskine the rebel declaring he won't stand for the stupidity of the herd? Or just a craven attempt to curry favour with the hype machine?