(keitai-l) Re: So, will i-mode repeat its early successes in the European market?

From: <tsheedy_at_idc.com>
Date: 04/05/01
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
i have been an analyst for about 5 years now, which means i have been misquoted
by the press for about five years now....

> Its funny- sometimes its not even worth it to respond to the Tim Sheedys of
> the world. I wonder if his comment about wondering what drugs these people
> were taking" are said just to raise some people's ire. (quoted by: Nina -
Associate Analyst, Japan Service
> Jupiter Research, 21 Astor Place, New York)

and sometimes it is worth responding.

as members of a mailing list i thought that you would all know better than to
believe everything you read - just because it appeared in the press does not
mean that it was accurate. i never said some of the statements that i was quoted
for saying (and i would be interested in chatting to the journalist who wrote
the article). also, why is it that an interview i gave many many months ago
(i.e. at least last august or so - and most likely earlier) appeared in press
now? as far as i remember, when i was interviewed, NTT DoCoMo had not yet made
any real acquisitions in europe and had no public plans to move here. Also back
then there was very little info about i-mode outside of japan, and i was
completely correct in saying that people did not have the skills - at that time
i-mode was not completely understood, but through my contacts in the Japanese
market within and outside of IDC i knew a little more than most in Europe -
which is probably why i was being interviewed. however, i research the european
mobile market - i don't make any claims to being an expert on the japanese
market. and if i am wrong about something i am happy for you to tell me - to my
face - and not the world (unless you are a competitor to IDC and you will
benefit by making IDC look less knowledgable by slandering the analysts behind
their back).

if i remember correctly i was saying that i was impressed with applications such
as the fishing game - and amazed that such a concept could take off - but in
essence that is what the mobile internet is about - someone in NYC or London may
be interested in a traffic app, but someone in the north of sweden or outback
australia may not - different people in different places will want different
applications - and i am sure i-mode will do well in the personalisation space -
because that is what they do already.

my comments to the press were regarding the business model - i.e. will people
pay for it? - perhaps not. remember in europe the internet is generally free -
we don't pay an isp for internet access - we pay a telecoms company by the
minute for our phone call. so will people go for this idea of a monthly fee for
access to info or games that they get for "free" on the fixed internet? possibly
not - although this is the chance to give it a go. the business model is a very
important part of i-modes success - if they cannot replicate this in europe then
they will struggle along with everyone else. why do you think there has been som
much hype about mCommerce and mobile advertising - because the WAP developers
need to make money and the operators are generally hesitant to charge by the
application - particularly in a circuit-switched world. i-mode may have the best
damned applications on the planet, but if people won't pay for them, then they
will have to reinvent their business model or lose out. and if they reinvent
tehir business model for europe, then they will begin to look suspiciously like
the mobile operators here... and therefore will lose a lot of their advantage.

i also commented that i-mode is suucessful partly because of the facts that (a)
content developers make money out of it so they are incented to make better apps
(b) it is packet based. when i was interviewed, i was asked about the likely
success of i-mode in europe then - and there were no packet-based networks in
europe that long ago and they are still about 6-9 months away from ready
commercial availability. so if an i-mode service was launched then it would be
faced with the same problems of wap.

we also need to forget this whole WAP vs i-mode vs hdml etc debate. when it
comes down to it, it doesn't matter - they are similar enough and on the same
general evolutionary path that they will most likely be the same in the future.
if i-mode can better serve the purpose of an application then develop it in
i-mode. we need to move the focus if the industry away from debates about who or
what is better and whether WAP is crap etc and get around to building better and
more focussed services for the users (and, may i suggest, spend less time
criticising fellow analysts in the hope of one-up-man-ship). while the industry
(in europe in particular) focusses on discussing the merits of WML vs i-mode,
other companies are getting ahead and developing applications which people want
- and providing it for them in a manner that they can access it easily. i am not
accusing anyone on this list of doing this - i am a new member of this list - i
joined after it was bought to my attention that i, or at least my "alleged
commentary" was being discussed (and crisitised) without being given the right
of reply.

anyway - i have taken up enough of your valuable time.

so please - in future, please do not critise until you know the facts. the
planet would be a happier place without such negativity. and if you do so,
please take it off line. and if you have any response please feel free to
contact me directly - my details are below. lets spend our time and energy
getting things right for our clients and the users of the mobile Internet


tim sheedy
research manager
european wireless and mobile communications
idc emea


mobile: +44-7771-786-915
e-mail: tsheedy@idc.com

Luca Franchi <Luca.Franchi@helloNetwork.com> on 04/04/2001 19:28:59

Please respond to keitai-l@appelsiini.net

To:   keitai-l@appelsiini.net
cc:    (bcc: Tim Sheedy/UK/Europe/IDC)

Subject:  (keitai-l) Re: So, will i-mode repeat its early successes in      the

Completely agree with Andrea here.  DoCoMo's strength is based on their
consumer oriented nature.  It understands what the consumer wants and what
will work.  Its success in Japan could very easily be ported to other
regions considering DoCoMo's attention to cultural and local details.  The
skeptics point to DoCoMo's knowledge of the market because it's playing in
its own market.  However that is exactly why it has purchased minor stakes
in telcos worldwide: to be able to provide interactive services that are
meaningful in their own cultural context, through the local telcos that know
their end-users best.  The negative view of the market coupled with the lack
of vision by analysts must be changed to a realistic, and not hyped up idea
of what we can expect from the wireless industry in the near future.

> So, will i-mode repeat its early successes in the European market?
> Highly unlikely, says Tim Sheedy, research analyst with International
> Corp. 'The i-mode applications in Japan are generating real revenue,
and are
> a big selling point, but they won't necessarily translate to the
> market,' he says. One of the most popular applications in Japan is a
> simulation, which draws on data from shipping forecasts, and lets
> catch fish. A good catch means the user can upgrade his fishing tackle
for a
> better model. 'Some of these applications make me wonder what drugs
> people are taking,' he says. In addition, the developer community in
> has no experience with i-mode, and would have to start from scratch.
> the programming instructions are in Japanese anyway, so most of the
> programmers in Europe would have no idea where to start,' Sheedy adds.
> (...)

Hmm, who is saying that i-mode in Europe has to have the same
applications running as in Japan? When DoCoMo launched i-mode in Japan,
they tried to imagine what consumers *here on this market* would like to
use. European operators (in coop with DoCoMo) could now do the same
thing -- just for the European market.

For programming in i-mode, a lot of the basic information is available
in English already, plus it shouldn't be that problem to translate the
remaining parts. Developing content for i-mode has been proven to be a
lot easier then for WAP in many ways, so programmers in Europe should
actually have it easier to switch to i-mode, especially if they already
have experience with web development.

My facit: Some of the facts Tim Sheedy mentioned might even be correct
(for example that the fishing game would not work in Europe) but they
are completely missing the points of what the i-mode model is really
about and how to localize and transport a service into a different


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Received on Thu Apr 5 02:43:11 2001