T-Mobile: Stabbing Google In The Back?

Based on expert analysis, the Mobile Advertising industry is expected to reach 250 BILLION dollars by the year 2010… give or take 230 Billion Dollars.

Yup, you read that correctly. The GSM Association predicted that the Mobile Advertising Industry could be worth 250 Billion dollars a year, coming to this optimistic conclusion after learning the details of a Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 partnership that would make putting ads on mobile devices easier than putting them on television or print mediums.

According to Mobile Entertainment, “Many pundits have viewed the project as a defensive move against Google.” With Android set to debut in upcoming months, this strategic move shouldn’t seem all that shocking – but wait! We could swear that T-Mobile is a member of the Open Handset Alliance?

T-Mobile is indeed a member of the OHA but Vodafone (who owns Verizon) and 02 are not. Is T-Mobile getting bullied into betraying Google and the Open Handset Alliance in order to build a system that competes with Android? We’re not sure… but if this IS the case… things might start to get ugly.

We almost forgot, what happened to that $230 Billion dollar discrepancy? In October 2007, only 6 months ago, The Economist published an article that placed the most optimistic estimates of the same figure at $20 Billion dollars by 2011. Ummm, is George Bush doing somebody’s math? The difference in these forecasts is simply unexplainifiable.

So what in the world is happening?

Google has already entered the “traditional” advertising space by allowing their advertisers to place print and radio ads through what started as an exclusively PPC internet advertising program. Perhaps the mobile executives saw Google’s shift and predicted their entrance into the mobile market, launching a partnership to speed the process of bringing ads to mobile devices BEFORE Google could set precedent.

So is this when Google started planning Android, a master plan to supercede other partnerships by leveraging the “OHA” as a tool to float it’s own Android platform to the top of the mobile idea pool?

Or, after Google planned and announced Android, did the mobile giants get together with other buddies in their industry and decide, “Why should the new kid on the block just come in and steal advertising dollars of an industry that WE built?”

Sure… they humored Google by joining their precious Open Handset Alliance, but all the while, their goal was to force feed their own advertising systems and implementations down Android’s throat upon release.

Neither of these theories are likely “correct”. And lets face it, any idiot could have predicted that mobile would be the next big leap for the advertising industry. But the point here is that the Open Handset Alliance attempts to be the “lets all hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya” poster boy while each individual member is a company with investors who are scraping and clawing to get every penny of the mobile dollar that they possibly can.

There is no doubt that Android is an amazing concept with unlimited potential. There is no doubt the synergy of unified goals and objectives will help the mobile industry move light years faster than each company could alone. The question is, do the OHA members view the alliance as a transparent institution created by Google to passive-aggressively force them to surrender their mobile advertising leverage to the big G?

There are so many different stakeholders and there is so much at stake. We don’t know the relationships with individual companies and executives. We don’t know the plans and secrets of each business and the direction they will go to achieve competitive advantage. As consumers, we get excited about Android and the opportunities it will bring to us but as businesses, they are still competitors competing for the same piece of the pie.

Hopefully they can realize that right now, they are all fighting for pieces of a $1 Billion Dollar pie. If they work separately with the goal of protecting their knowledge, they’ll be competing for pieces of the $20 Billion Dollar pie. But if they truly work together, embrace the OHA concept and push the potential of Android to its limits… they’ll be competing for pieces of the $250 Billion Dollar pie within 5 years.

Mobile phones have the potential to overtake the vast majority of traditional advertising streams because of their undeniable ability to hone in on who is using it and exactly (within feet) where that person is. Not to mention the fact that mobile phones are becoming small computers with the ability to do basically anything that a Laptop can.

So which would you prefer… Kum Ba Ya or Celebrity CEO Deathmatch? Or maybe a mix… Hey T-Mobile, your shoe is untied…

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