Twitter: The telecom industry never sees a platform until it eats their lunch ..

I have been having an interesting discussion at forumoxford where I said (in context of Twitter) -

The telecom industry never sees a platform until it eats their lunch ..

Let me explain .. and this thinking forms a key part of my strategy/consulting to industry and government

The Telecoms industry never sees a platform until it eats their lunch…

There is an excellent book called ‘What would Google do’

Paul Golding blogged about it and I recommend that we all read it.

Or wait for a new book from me called Open Mobile :)

Telcoms sees everything in terms of ‘directly making money’

Google (and the web) sees the same thing as a platform

A platform merely enables

It creates (unpredictable) services which have a business model

The platform itself has a transactional business model

Increasingly as services get decoupled from the network, they become abstracted to higher levels of the stack

They become global

They enable services which are also global and are often not as ‘perfect’ as the equivalent ‘telecoms’ system

The telecoms system is costly. It takes a long time to interconnect globally

the equivalent ‘web’ system is free and global. It is not perfect(it is best case)

But once the ‘platform’ emerges – then the provider creates a transactional model on top of it

Think of Cell id databases(decouple location)

Think of appstores(decouple billing)

Think of skype(decouple voice)

Think of Twitter(decouple messaging BUT a lot more as many people have said)

On the telecoms side, the company who understands this best is Nokia

On the Web side, it is Google

Now think of Twitter as a platform

The whole point of a platform is – it does not know what it’s business model is and the edge of the network thinking(which drives the Web) creates new(as yet unknown services) which provide the business model

Which makes me say that the Telecoms industry(sadly) does not see a platform until it is too late.

That’s the same logic which underpins the other thread I posted today

The phone becomes a magic wand to the cloud services: Mobile sensor based interface to the cloud to jump start the Internet of things .. i.e. network layer interconnect is not easy for Internet of things – service layer connectivity is. Although it is imperfect, it will be global.

It’s the same story played out again and again in different scenarios ..

Comments welcome