#5 – Device & SW vendors

What North America lost on the swings it regains on the roundabouts

In the mobile infrastructure supply market North America is doing poorly. From being a leading technology and supplier market in the 1G era (the AMPS, TACS and NMT days) the decline started 15-20 years ago when the Europeans had invented something called GSM which became the global standard. While the North American vendors spent time in competing internally what should be their 2G national/global standard, NAMPS, D-AMPS, CDMA etc. they were caught in a very distractive situation where they needed support all technologies. In our opinion this is the most important reason why there in reality remains only one North American global mobile infrastructure player left, which is half French by the way.

Having said all this, the North Americans are now on the path of getting their revenge. Something they got right was the internet. Almost all leading intertnet and IP players have their roots and Head Quarters on the US west coast. So now when North America accepted WCDMA and LTE as usable technologies just like the rest of the world, and when mobile is evolving to mobile broadband, the rules of the game has changed. Suddenly what is being developed in North America will work elsewhere without (or with minor) changes. Suddenly the the game is about internet, SW and developer community skills. This is why we see Nokia and Sony Ericsson losing their grip on their market to Google, Apple and RIM. Both MNOs and handset vendors in Europe will need to address this fundamental market shift and adapt to the new rules of the game. Our prediction is that North American device and SW vendors will dominate the global smartphone segment from 2010 and onwards.