phone-shapes are getting weird? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.
According to Kari Tuutti,
Vice President (Communications Multimedia), Nokia Corporation, design
and entertainment are the future of mobile telephony. Excerpts from
a discussion with :
Why choose a phone to deliver multimedia?
Frankly, the mobile phone is the first truly
mobile digital companion for people. There are 1.5 billion mobile
users worldwide, and almost all of them have their phones with them
all the time. You don't carry your computer everywhere. (And) how
many people can afford laptop computers .
But, hasn't the slow take-off of next-generation
3G services been a dampener for companies like Nokia?
The first handsets for 3g phones were not very
good and mobile operators did not have the services to match up
with the capabilities of such devices. But, the new generation of
phones and services is amazing. Things like streaming television
will drive revenue. Then there are games; last month, 15 million
Java games were downloaded across the world.
Has the N-Gage proven that people want a
phone, which is also a gaming device?
We have sold over a million N-Gage GD phones
in the space of 10 months. Today, everyone talks of the iPod, but
it took Apple 17 months to reach that number.
What about Nokia? There's one opinion that
says it has lost the plot on design.
Honestly, look at some of our new designs. They
are optimised for the future; yes candy-bar style phones are on
their way down, but later this year we will be launching the 'Design'
collection, which will showcase radical designs. And for the mainstream
we shall have the Nokia 6630, which should be one of the easiest
PDA-phones to use. Next year we will launch a touch-screen phone
with a wide screen, which will allow users to surf the internet
on a wide screen. Then, there is the series 60 software that lies
beneath most of our phones, which is constantly being improved.
I do not think any of our competitors has such a solid software
|The monster.com ad
(above) and the naukri.com ads: Each claims it is bigger
Seen more of job sites
on the tube lately? Well, that's because India's two largest job
sites (Actually, there are probably only two worth being aware of)
have set out to claim the #1 spot. Naukri was the first to stake
its claim, although Monster has lost no time to jump into the fray
after its recent acquisition of JobsAhead. Thus, Monster is advertising
'Happy Jobs', the result, its head of marketing Dhruv Shenoy says,
of research that revealed that people crave job satisfaction. And
Naukri has its 'Guess, who just heard from us?' campaign which takes
a humourous look at what people who have already lined up a job
can do to their none-too-perfect bosses. Monster's Shenoy says the
company will assess the impact of its first brush with the electronic
medium and re-evaluate its media strategy. For his part, Naukri's
CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani claims the ads have trebled business. Moral
of the story: the net may be the perfect medium for job advertising,
but when it comes to job sites, television could well hold the edge.
Regular readers of the pink brigade may have been surprised to see
report after another, in mid-October, state that the us-based consulting
firm meta Group, has identified one Indian it company or another
as the leader in the outsourcing space. This writer, for instance,
received three press releases, one each from Infosys, Wipro, and
HCL Technologies to this effect. For the record, one insisted that
the company in question had been named "the leader in the offshore
outsourcing space". Here's the real deal: meta ranked 18 companies;
eight were named leaders and nine, challengers. That won't help
readers any. What will is a clarification from the consulting firm
that the position of a company in its quadrant indicates its standing
vis-à-vis the competition; the higher and farther to the
right, the better. Now, finding who the leader should be easy.
How To Beat The Left
Privatisation may yet happen: just adopt the
Left's West Bengal model.
|PM Manmohan Singh:
left waffles on privatisation. The Right speaks on it in several
voices. And now, the Congress, the most centrist and inclusive of
Indian political formations, is tying itself up in knots over the
sale of these "crown jewels". The inconsistencies and
the doublespeak stem from the absence of a proper policy on the
sale of public sector units. This leads to the process being held
hostage to the political compulsions of the party in power.
The principal objection to privatisation comes
from the Left, though some fringe voices on the Right also regularly
rant against it. But what is the track record of the Left in the
states it rules? In West Bengal, where the Left has been in power
for over a quarter of a century, the government has already sold
some state PSUs. And what's more, it has come out with a clear-cut
policy to govern the process. Accordingly, profitable units and
those loss-making ones that can be revived with minimal investment
are retained; companies that need large doses of funds infusion
for revival are hived off into joint ventures with private partners;
and those that are deemed totally unviable are closed down.
A policy statement like this can be a good
starting point for the government in New Delhi. For one, the Left
will find it difficult to run down and disown a policy authored
by its own constituents. Secondly, it will signal a firm commitment
by the government to push ahead with economic reforms. Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh has said his government will not pursue privatisation
as an ideology. But now, of course, there are reports that the government
is lining up the sale of small stakes in several blue-chip PSUs
and even thinking of closing down seven unviable ones. A concept
paper on disinvestment talks about privatising 15 PSUs, mostly via
the IPO route, to raise Rs 15,000 crore for the government's impoverished
Perhaps now is the time when the government
should shed its case-by-case ad-hocism and formulate coherent guidelines
on privatisation that protects the interests of all the players
in the process: the buyer, the workers and the government. In addition
to making the process more transparent, it will help avert Centaur-like
situations in the future. More importantly, it could make the P-word
more palatable to UPA's Left partners.
"Indian Tech Firms Must Show Value"
Miller, President of Information
Technology Association of America, which represents more than 400
it and telecom companies, was recently in India to attend a conference
on cyber security. He spoke to BT's on the US political rhetoric on outsourcing
and its future course. Excerpts:
Has information security become an issue
due to any specific instances of lapse or is it just a fear, given
the volume of work moving offshore?
No, it's not due to any specific instance, then
there would be no debate. It's just the volume of sensitive information
that is moving. Imagine if I made public the financial records of
Oprah Winfrey or the health records of Dick Cheney. Well it's possible
and you can imagine the devastation. That's why we are starting
to address it as a major concern.
How are Bush and Kerry aligned on this outsourcing
Bush is not supporting any changes in laws that
would prevent work from moving offshore, while Kerry is suggesting
changes in the tax code, which would not encourage manufacturing
jobs going offshore. He has not mentioned services at all. They
both know that any major changes in policy would change the direction
of the economy so all (this posturing) is pure rhetoric.
How long do you think India will retain
its position as the pre-eminent offshoring destination?
Indian companies will need to show more value,
which they are doing now. Pure play price advantage will be challenged
as wage rates go up.
A McKinsey report whips up high hopes.
|Fruits of the loom:
Textiles could be a big driver
another gung-ho report from McKinsey. According to the consulting
firm's latest report on the Indian manufacturing sector, exports
could soar to $300 billion (Rs 13,80,000 crore) by 2015 from $40
billion (Rs 1,84,000 crore) currently. What explains the firm's
giddy optimism? The fact that the manufacturing sector has so far
been ignored, and opportunities, if tapped, are two to three times
bigger than those available in the IT/ITEs sectors, where exports
(according to another McKinsey report) are projected to touch $77
billion (Rs 3,54,200 crore) by 2009. "Those numbers will be
possible only if the industry took the initiative to step up production
and focussed on the textiles and electronics sectors," says
Ranjit Pandit, Managing Director, McKinsey & Co. (India). The
report also spells out the other imperatives: An overhaul of India's
infrastructure facilities and an increase in outsourcing by the
US to low-cost countries (LCCs). Currently, the US buys $1,400 billion
(Rs 64,40,000 crore) worth of goods from LCCs such as China and
Has the report warmed the cockles of Indian
exporters? Hardly. Subhash Mittal, Vice-President of FIEO, an association
of exporters, feels that much of the projected windfall will depend
on how well the textile sector performs in the post-quota era. Another
FIEO official finds the projections "feel-good and exaggerated",
given that a number of issues such as labour retrenchment still
stand in the way of manufacturing industries.