Mark Bridge writes:
This week’s big news isn’t entirely mobile-related – but it is entirely worth mentioning. First we had Amazon snapping up the part of LOVEFiLM they didn’t already own. (Allow me to start the speculation about a video-streaming Kindle). And then Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he was leaving. Okay, he’s not going far – he’ll be Executive Chairman from April – and it’s co-founder Larry Page who’s taking over, which means there won’t be any new faces in the boardroom.
Now to quarterly results. Either they bore you something dreadful or they reveal a company’s inner working with X-ray insight. Whatever your viewpoint, this week’s results seemed pretty easy to interpret.
Apple – with CEO Steve Jobs taking medical leave – reported record figures that saw quarterly profit exceeding $6 billion. Over 16 million iPhones and 7 million iPads were sold in the three months leading up to Christmas.
Sony Ericsson talked proudly about four consecutive quarters of profitability during 2010 (“Hey, we’ve gone a whole year without losing money”) although device sales and market share weren’t so good.
HTC sold twice as many phones in 2010 as it did in 2009.
And the Carphone Warehouse – which, with its Best Buy UK and US partnership, can be a confusing entity to interpret – seemed pretty pleased with itself overall.
While we’re talking figures, it’s worth mentioning a report from market research company ForeSee Results that shows consumers in the UK are using mobile phones more than ever as part of shopping. They may not all be buying online, but almost a third of respondents had used their mobile phone to access a retailer's website – and another 32% planned to do this in the future.
Taking a different perspective on retail is Marks & Spencer. M&S has signed up to the O2 More location-based marketing service for six months, offering free smoothies by SMS to passing shoppers who are looking to buy lunch.
If you’ve already bought lunch and only have small change left in your pocket, Orange UK will welcome you into one of its high-street shops. You can now add as little as a 10p top-up to Orange ‘pay as you go’ phones. When I was a cub scout, I was told to always carry 10p in case I needed to use a public payphone!
Bidding farewell to the UK this week is Nokia Comes With Music. The confusing-to-explain-to-customers music download service isn’t being sold any more in 27 countries including the UK, although it’s still running in a few places. Bidding farewell to Brightstar Europe is Tanny Price, who’s heading for business-to-business division of Daventry-based distribution company Shebang. And swapping Tesco Telecoms for Domino’s Pizza is former Vodafone marketing man Lance Batchelor.
Finally, there’s been plenty of debate about mobile networks trying to redefine words such as ‘unlimited’, ‘fair usage’ and ‘free’. Three UK tried to go a step further by defining ‘competitor’ to exclude giffgaff when it published a price comparison leaflet. The Advertising Standards Authority wasn’t impressed and told them not to do it again. The moral of the story? As I’ve said previously, you don’t want to mess with a giffgaff customer.