20080425

FT, Telia, Sonera - back to the nineties

Didier Lombard clearly prefers dealing with former CNET coopetitors rather than coping with entertainers or content providers, especially after the departure of Quillot for Lagardere Group.

The Telia-Sonera opportunity looks much prettier than Alitalia for Air France - KLM. Of course, Scandinavia is no more leading innovation in mobile as it did in the early nineties. And Nokia's favorite lab Sonera didn't survive the change of scale of the industry. And overall this deal doesn't look like a major disruption for FT which recently claimed such emerging markets as Africa were priorities.

Telia-Sonera will strengthten FT in Northern Europe and open new East Block opportunities. It's also an interesting entry point for Scandinavian silicon valleys, but FT already owns centers in the region, local start-ups don't need local MNOs to go international, and the Orange brand doesn't necessarily need Orange as a MNO. The fact is competition is much tougher in the Asia Pacific region where FT also owns R&D centers but no networks.

This deal would only make FT an even more powerful European and "tech / IT" player, retarding the overall evolution of its business model, whilst Orange World needs contents. Orange did invest a lot in digital rights and multiaccess contents in France, but the strategy demands a lot of money, especially when you intend to have a global reach.

Canal+ can made fun of this new "mini TPS" (deals with Warner and the French Soccer Federation), Orange is a small national competitor on its core business, but the Canal+ part of Orange is only a side dish for that major multiaccess multiservice provider.

Vivendi is feeling the heat and starting to leverage on Streamezzo, its JV with Vodafone : neuf cegetel (now back to SFR, another Streamezzo platform user) just launched everyworld.fr. As the name tells us, it is suppose to bring you a less monochromous world Orange World. There, you can hand pick your apps and follow them on any device. Which reminds me of BLOKKS and BRIKKS. A nice looking system where a friendly UI... but back then there was no broadband access on one end and no content on the other. Framfab Labs did that and guess what ? They were from Sweden... and the late nineties (definitely pre-9/11).

Next thing you know, Orange will get the exclusivity for Bjorn Borg's games.



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