Ericsson announced yesterday morning that they have completed a partnership agreement to bring mobile applications to Kaixin001, a Beijing based social network with 50 million users. The press release mentions that photo sharing, SMS alerts, and location based services will be the first applications. The fact that Kaixin001, a startup itself, has chosen Ericsson as content partner should be interpreted as huge missed opportunity for all startups developing mobile applications in Northern Europe, and I’ll tell you why.
The reason that any of the startups in the Nordics and Baltics that could’ve done this deal, but didn’t, is because Ericsson is fully committed to using it’s Big Company Sales & BizDev muscles to win work, regardless of whether the services they’ll ultimately deliver are best. That’s what startups are for, to be the ones creating insanely great products, better than any Big Company© ever can. However, great products and services aren’t enough. If they don’t get sold and distributed they’re just good ideas. This Ericsson/Kaixin001 deal is a wake-up call for every mobile content startup in the region that’s waiting to scale up a sales organization or that thinks CTO/Sales Manager is in any way a workable job description.
Creating applications for East Asian users who consume a lot of content on the mobile web, and are more willing to pay for it, is a great win for Ericsson that never should have been.