The thing is, imode was not a technology by the time it reached any of the
markets in the west we are talking about: Australia and the UK got it quite
late, and by that time it wasn't a technology. The technology was an MMS
variant, J2ME (albeit it with a variant profile, but that is just a detail,
like what colour the background on the screen is: it can be changed easily
enough), and X-HTML Basic.
So, if it isn't a technology, which it most definitely is not, what is it? A
brand and a business model. The problem is clearly that the brand wasn't
that strong, and the business model wasn't very carefully followed. The
clever guys at e Plus, KPN, Telstra, and O2 (and before that AT&T and 3 UK)
are convinced that they know their markets, and they are also frankly
unwilling to give the content providers 90% of the revenues collected for
content, which in turn meant that the content was both expensive, and also
of less value to the content providers, and therefore less likely to be
constantly improved and updated. To make it worse, imode was sold to them as
a new technology, which, when they looked right into it, it wasn't. So they
pretty much ALL ended up saying "what's so good about this? It's pretty much
the same as our current technology. Those bozos upstairs didn't actually GET
us anything!" Those bozos upstairs didn't get it because DoCoMo had sold it
to them as a technology, or something "you bloody well better do because we
now own 17% of your company," rather than as a business model and a brand.
The management of the i-mode brand outside of Japan, I can tell you from
very personal experience, was handled very poorly by DoCoMo. I was writing a
book about it, and asked for simple information and access to be able to
interview people in DoCoMo about it, and was absolutely shut out. The
brainiacs in their PR department couldn't think of any good reason why they
would want an English-language book written about i-mode. At the time, they
didn't even have a brand management department.
My own employer, Vodafone, have been much more successful at marketing
Vodafone Live! in Europe than any of the i-mode carriers have been. And with
brands and business models, it is marketing that determines the success, not
minor technology differences that don't have any meaning for the user.
Just my two pence.
On 7/23/07, Michael Sydenham <msydenham_at_gmail.com> wrote:
> On 7/23/07, Timothy J Mckinnon <webmechanic_at_telstra.com> wrote:
> > Imode has not been "dropped" by Telstra in Austalia.
> I guess that's right, but it was never really "picked up" either (by
> or its consumers).
> > Perhaps it was never as
> > popular as they envisioned, but hey, that is what marketing is all
> i-mode in Australia was woefully marketed, and developer support was
> marginal. I doubt Telstra reached their subscriber targets. I personally
> thought much more could have been done to promote i-mode in Australia. On
> the other hand, maybe no amount of promotion would have helped, since a
> recent mobile usage survey in Australia (finding reported on TV) suggested
> that the average Australian mobile user is not interested in mobile
> interactive content & services - they just want to talk & SMS. Telstra
> should have picked up and pushed felica on the back of i-mode.
> This mail was sent to address nfrengle_at_gmail.com
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Received on Tue Jul 24 00:44:26 2007