Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cashing Out of Mobile

Microsoft and Verizon may be betting on boom times in mobile, but the counterparties in their recent deals obviously were not. The board of directors at Nokia is said to have been eager to finalize their deal with Microsoft before the rumored (now confirmed) Apple event of September 10. What might Nokia know or suspect about Apple’s plans that could diminish the value of mobile assets? One obvious answer, something Apple is known to be working on, is improved cloud integration. If users can easily transfer files from point to point, they are less tied to their personal devices. They can use their phones as bit players in a larger drama if they choose. As mobile data becomes more fungible so that people can work anywhere and tie it all together later, any device and any network will do. Manufacturers and networks lose most of their leverage. And of course, this is just one possibility. One way or another, something will interrupt the trends of the past ten years. The power of mobile providers will not just continue to increase indefinitely.