Google vs. Nokia – the next cold war?
The announcement of Google buying Jaiku is making waves in the industry. Imran Ali at Mobile Messaging 2.0 is calling it the most significant acquisition ever by Google. I’m calling it the continuation of a cold war arms race between Nokia and Google for world domination. Well World Mobile domination (the new WMD?) anyway.
From the East (or near-East… or near-near-East) there is Nokia. They are already world leaders in the mobile device space and have a neat mobile social network called MOSH. With their acquisition of Enpocket they now have a best in class mobile ad-delivery platform. With their acquisition of NAVTEQ they now have a best in class GPS-based mapping system to compete in the location based services (LBS) space. With the Gartner Group forecasting that GPS based handsets will grow to around 40% by 2011 from 13% in 2007, clearly GPS or LBS could become the next killer mobile application. With all these acquisitions in the social networking / content space, Nokia is starting to look a lot like Google…
From the West we have Google. They own search world wide and have become a massive advertising power with their Google AdWords platform…. a platform that is now being offered for free for mobile for a limited time. Some have speculated that a mobile AdWords platform could subsidize carrier costs for the eventual release of a Google phone into the marketplace. Imagine a 3G phone loaded with Google widgets that costs little to nothing for the consumer. The g-phone could be an i-phone killer… or anything Nokia killer.
Combine the Google acquisition of Jaiku with the other recent announcement that Google also purchased Zingku – a mobile social utility tool that is web and SMS based and we have the makings of a mobile social networking platform that will rival all others. Consider that Google already has a great installed base with Orkut (which is more popular than facebook in some parts of the world), it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they’ll be playing in the mobile social networking space very soon. With all these acquisitions and developments, Google is starting to look a lot like Nokia…
Who will win this cold war…or will one buy the other eventually? One thing is for sure, following the mobile space is going to be very interesting over the next 18 months!
UPDATE 10/11: Nokia is also going into mobile search – check out this article on mobile semantic search!