Volker on Mobile, Games, Education…

Microsoft & Skype

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Allegedly, this morning Microsoft will announce it will buy Skype for $8.5bn. It is Microsoft’s largest investment into the digital realm so far (and a nice cash-out for the people who bailed Skype out from eBay a while ago; the valuation at the time apparently was put at $2.75bn). Besides these being big numbers (and allowing Skype not having to worry about an IPO anymore), this opens an opportunity for a new kind of animal in the communications corner of things. And here is why: Microsoft is legendarily late to…read more

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iPhone = (also) Business Phone?

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The all-the-rage iPhone (can someone please come up with a worthy competitor, please, so we have other things to talk about, too?) is said to be increasingly the businessman’s (and woman’s!) phone of choice. Satisfaction rates outstrip Blackberry and anyone else out there competing… I am not sure how it is elsewhere but in the UK where O2 holds the reigns on the iPhone, it appears that this might only be true for the ones that work for very generous employers (or those whose IT departments are not very cost-conscious)…read more

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Vodafone Germany’s “Generation Upload” or the Importance of Walking the Talk

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Here’s a tale of the brave new world of the web, the collaborative, open, participatory one. It starts harmlessly. Vodafone Germany did something new: a new image, a new target group, a new PR format… The formal pointer was the full integration of Arcor, which it took over about a year ago. There was more to it though, on the image side. Now, Vodafone did its homework (or so it thought) and thought of something fairly revolutionary: it announced its new initiative in a “Live PK” where they allowed everyone…read more

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Orange UK: Mobile Broadband Roars!

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Orange UK, one of the large carriers in the country with 15.8m mobile subscribers, has released its “Fifth Digital Media Index”, containing a set of interesting numbers on the data uptake on their network, and it makes for intriguing reading! The carrier recorded a whopping 4,125% (!) increase in data use over dongles using their mobile network in the last 12 months with dongle subscriptions growing by 504%. Data use from handset increased by 108% and that, I might add, without the help of the iPhone (which is exclusive to…read more

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To Skype or not to Skype: Nokia vs Carriers

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The most excellent German blog Mobile Zeitgeist alerted me (in German) to a little battle that illustrates the pitfalls of creating the seamless user experience: Nokia appears to being in a tussle with (at least) the German arms of Vodafone and T-Mobile over the pre-installation of Skype clients on some of its forthcoming handset models (including the long-awaited iPhone competitor, N97). Vodafone and T-Mobile Germany (who have a combined subscriber base of close to 80m) have now publicly stated that they will not include any Nokia models into their catalogues,…read more

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Mobile Internet is Reality!

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A Nielsen survey commissioned (sic!) by backhaul specialists Tellabs found that the mobile Internet is pretty much a part of life nowadays – at least in the territories covered by this. They asked 50,000 consumers in EU5 (Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy) and the US about their intentions with respect to 10 mobile data services.  Italians are the quickest adopters, and Germans are slowest.  The top 5 data services were (in order of ranking):  Mobile Internet, MMS (yes, really. I am skeptical, too), uploading photos, Software/app download (presumably includes games) and E-mail. Here…read more

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Vodafone UK Embraces Data Flatrates!

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Vodafone UK announced that they will make flat-rate data part and parcel of every post-paid contract. Price plans start at GBP 25 (c. $50) per month and do away with the additional GBP 7.50 for a data plan previously required. It is subject to a rather low “fair use” policy of only 500 MB although – somewhat funny – a Vodafone spokesman apparently said that they would not charge users for excess anyway. So what then? Anyway, let’s not dwell on petty details on a good day: flat-rate data will…read more

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