I've seen a few comments about Apple's new "Visual Voicemail", which enables random access to a Cingular mailbox from the new iPhone. What's not 100% clear is whether the concept comes from Apple, and they've got Cingular to adopt it, or vice versa - or even maybe it's a third party vendor's idea that they've both licenced.
Let's suppose it's Apple's idea, that they've made it a core app on the iPhone, and as Apple puts it "Cingular is the first supported carrier". In which case, isn't this going to involve a lot of work for any other carrier that wants to be "supported" by Apple? They'll have to rejig their voicemail platform as well.
But....most vendors and operators are enthusiastically pushing their next-gen "service creation" environments, whether based on IMS, Parlay, Web Services or whatever, as making it (supposedly) ultra-rapid and ultra-cheap to create & deploy new apps.
Now, the original idea was that the operator (or maybe a 3rd party developer) would be the innovator & drive the design & creation of these apps, then implement them rapidly. But this has failed - the operators (generally) aren't innovative or fast enough, while 3rd party developers haven't had the support & tools.
Now... imagine that someone like Apple comes along and TELLS the operator "Hey, we know you've got a new rapid service creation environment that you've been bragging about! So come on, let's see you develop an app that works with OUR vision & our device. We've done the innovating, and you can do development really quickly, so let's get on with it"
So if these things really DO work as advertised, and it only takes a week or a month (let's say) to develop a parallel voicemail service for Apple, then why not? And why not do a Nintendo one, or a Nokia one or whatever?
At the moment, operators put out lengthy requirements documents for the handset suppliers. Maybe this is the first instance of a handset supplier turning the tables and putting out requirements for the operator to adhere to. "Support Visual Voicemail, or we won't sell our product through you, and your customers will buy it from someone else instead & churn". Maybe Motorola should have taken that approach with the RAZR - if you have a "must have" product, the usual competitive dynamics of "power of supplier" and "power of customer" might get realigned. Of course, it helps if (like Apple) you don't have any existing carrier relationships to jeopardise by playing this type of game.
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