A marketing angle

Sean Moss-Pultz sean_mosko at fic.com.tw
Tue Nov 21 11:32:11 CET 2006

Dear Ben,

Please understand that market questions are not something I can freely talk
about at this point. We're just beginning a really long term plan. I
wouldn't want to show our cards, too early ;-)

I will say that OpenMoko is extremely strategic to our company. We are, and
plan to continue, investing generously in this effort.

Please don't think for a second this is a one time, wild gun-slinging event,
from FIC.


On 11/21/06 1:25 AM, "Ben F-W" <openmoko at flemingwilliams.co.uk> wrote:

> Hello all! Seems like most of the conversation so far has been around
> the hardware/software side: what will be included in this version vs the
> next version of the hardware. As I'm in marketing myself, I'm also very
> interested in the way FIC plan to bring OpenMoko to market: which is
> probably quite important to ensure there /is/ another version! I thought
> I'd offer a couple of thoughts on this...
> I assume that in most / all countries, it will not be possible (at least
> initially) to sell through operators. I doubt that many of the operators
> will trust it to be in their best interests until it's proven to raise
> ARPU. Instead, I think I saw someone confirming that it will be
> available globally, with FIC selling direct to the customer.
> That means customers have to beat a path to FIC's door rather than being
> 'sold' to. The main initial reasons for people to want to do this would
> seem to be (a) the open philosophy (b) the ability to customise it as
> required, including linking it up with home PCs.
> There seem to me to be three problems with uptake:
>     1) The market attracted by the current proposition is likely to be
> quite small. Very dedicated, sure, but not massive. Hopefully, in the
> longer term, some fantastic applications will be developed by the
> community, which will make it attractive to the mass market. (These,
> incidentally, will not be things like interfacing with Asterisk on the
> home PC until that's easy to set up). People are also likely to be quite
> slow to pick up on the OpenMoko: in the parts of the world where a free
> phone comes with the contract, people only start looking to replace it
> once every 12/18 months. I don't know what sales FIC need to make this
> profitable, but I suspect it might be larger than this initial market:
> they'll need to move into the mass market to justify a lot of further
> investment. So a Neo1975 or Neo1977 may be dependent on growing the
> market beyond its initial (small) size.
>     2) Selling to the mass market usually needs a strong brand that
> people can trust: currently, I don't think FIC has this (at least here
> in the UK). So to get to the mass market, either it will have to get
> operators interested and act as an ODM (its brand is subsumed into the
> operator one), or invest hugely in advertising, or trust to
> word-of-mouth and community hype to drum up enough support.
>     3) Community hype is probably the best option, and is likely to
> focus around the killer applications: "if you get the OpenMoko you'll be
> able to do this with it!". Two problems: firstly, it will take some time
> for these applications to be honed for ease of use. Secondly, what's to
> stop another manufacturer from taking a GPL'd product and adapting it to
> work with their (closed) Linux-based phone? They'd already have the
> operator channel and the consumer brand, but wouldn't need to open up
> their mobiles in the same way FIC is doing.
> Conclusions: given that this is an experiment, I suspect FIC will be
> loth to invest a huge amount in marketing and selling it. So the
> community-hype option seems to be the way to go. That means that if we
> want to ensure this product does well for FIC, and therefore spawns
> further versions, we'll need to make sure that the applications
> available are simple enough and instantly-attractive enough for the mass
> market.
> I'd be interested in your views on all this: if nothing else, are my
> (multiple) assumptions correct? Does Sean / FIC have a long-term plan
> for the marketing of this product? Can we as members of the community
> help and if so, how?
> Looking forward to your input.
> Cheers,
> Ben
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