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Their plans centre on a branded Google phone, which would probably also carry Orange's logo. The device would not be revolutionary: manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. But it would have built-in Google software which would dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the web from a mobile handset.
Orange ( originally British ) but bought by France telecom ( longtime french monopoly provider ..who had to be forced by the EU to release it's hold on french phone lines ..and even then took 6 years of trading with an illegal monopoly before it decided to abide by EU law ..it preferred to pay a daily fine of $50.000.oo ..actually the french tax payer was doing the paying!) ..France Telecom bought Orange with borrowed money whilst it was technically bankrupt ( still is ) ..the day it crashes ..will make Enron look like pocket change ..
Orange is the only part of the group with positive cash flow ..
And the other lossmaking arm of France telecom ( wanadoo was found to be rigging it's serps in the UK ..and taken to court and fined ..still does rig it's serps in France ..here it's legal ..) ..
The groups ex boss was made french finance minister ..so no legal enquiries are likely to happen soon into France telecoms accounting etc ..and he immediately upon being appointed to office by Mr Chirac gave them another 6 months breathing space to ignore the latest EU legislation regarding extortionate and according to the EU illegal charges made to call their hotline when their service has glitches ..can cost you as much as the monthly DSL fee just to be put on hold and lsiten to their in house ads ..before being passed to folks who dont understand either word in the phrase customer service ..
Staff are 80% ex state monopoly employees with lifetime job security ..and higher than private sector benefits and pension deals that no private sector workers in France can have as the government prohibited the expansion of those deals to the private sector by law ..
Following on from it's newscorp deal ..G has some very unappetising partners in it's ventures ..again "by their friends shall ye know them" ..
There are others with equal if not better experience in mobile phone technology and who didn't get there via state subsidies , shady deals and abuse of monopoly power , ignoring EU law for years , and revolving their CEO into politics and specifically into the position of overseer of the corporate finances and financial law in their country to cover their "donkeys" ...
[edited by: Leosghost at 4:42 pm (utc) on Dec. 17, 2006]
I disagree - personally I think local search and geo-targetting is going to be huge in the future. Search companies not investing in that right now, in my opinion, are the ones lacking imagination.
I think this has further reaching implications than many people realise.
Google have been looking at this sector for some time and have been discussing it a lot recently:-
... and let's not forget the presence of Andy Rubin, either:-
Plus, one has to wonder how hard is for MSFT or Y! to improve cell browsing..
I have been using my Orange SPV phone (another HTC device) for a couple of years now and regularly surf the web with it, but it is frustratingly slow. I welcome the commitment to improving mobile surfing speed.
I also found it very tricky to configure my email on it, so welcome a more integrated gmail solution.
As has already been mentioned, the GEO targetting angle is HUGE. I'd love to switch on my phone, and see all the services/shops/restaurants etc that are available in the local area on it... without really having to do that much searching or typing...
Lastly, I am now on my second orange-branded HTC phone, and I think they're great. Battery life is superb and with each release they make it more usable. Mine both ran Windows Mobile 5.0, and HTC have integrated the design of the phone to suit the operating system - dedicated buttons for MediaPlayer etc. Imagine what they will do with a fully integrated GooglePhone.
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot ... what about the GoogleTalk side of all this. Integrated VoIP anyone?
Sony tackled the MP3 end of the phone market superbly and I think Google will do the same for the online end.
If you buy a smartphone (either Symbian or Windows Mobile) with wi-fi capability there's absolutely no problem surfing the web, because smartphones have enough computing power to cope with it and wi-fi is fast enough.
Google will have no way of affecting any phone web surfing experience because they have nothing to contribute either in phone network infrastructure or phone hardware, yet these are the only two areas that need any work done on them.
All acquisitions.. ..mergers..etc are primarily to increase dominance in the SEARCH area.
The comment I made about the 'Little imagination' part was specifically about their lack of imagination in exploring some new businesses for once, not realted to SEARCH but maybe something new..
Or is that too much to ask for..
I suppose all the bright guys at PLEX are only interested in dominating the SEARCH and placement of ADS. Does that show imagination?
So maybe in the future, they will buy out TV networks/ Radio networks, Newspapers etc and try to dominate the local and global Search space. Is this imagination or simple inorganic growth...
With the kind of Cash they are sitting on..they could potentially do many imaginative things.. Don't ask me for examples..because I don't have that kind of money.. but maybe I would work towards revolutionizing communication with a new generation of satellites...providing maybe free phones? Who knows...