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22/2/09

The big news of the week is. The Simpsons in high def. It’s a chance to see all your favourite cartoon characters  looking brighter an clearer. A bit like being in Barcelona really.
So if the major phone players were Simpsons characters who would they be?  Nokia has to be Mr. Burns. Super-rich and everyone hates him for it. I rather like Mr. Burns for the way he answers the phone: “Ahoy-hoy”. When the phone was invented the customary way to greet someone was to say “how-de-do”. With the phone came the need to have a shorter greeting and “Hello” was pressed into service. Alexander Graham Bell, the fixed line equivalent of Marty Cooper, was a proponent of Ahoy-hoy. It seems that Mr. Burns, as old as the river Nokia is named after never learnt the Hello convention.

Samsung and LG? The clue to their characters is that they always sit side by side. They are Patti and Selma as no-one can tell them apart.

Motorola? Oh dear, Motorola. A company which still thinks it’s important but everyone ignores. It’s got to be Clancy Wiggum. Puffed up with self-importance but a bit bumbling. You’ve got to feel a little sorry for him.

Then it starts to get a bit more interesting. Where does Sony Ericsson fit in. It’s a question that the company never seems to know itself and a diametric opposite to the Officer Motorola. Sony Ericsson is bright and promising but scared to play with the big boys: the Millhouse of the mobile phone world. One day Millhouse will grow up and realise that he doesn’t need to apologise for being at the party.

That’s 85% of the phone market catered for. In an analogy like this it’s easy to forget that other players are just bit-parts. Nowhere is that more evident than when thinking about Apple and HTC whose market shares are pretty insignificant. That might make HTC Side-show Bob. But Apple? There is a special cool about Apple and that’s reflected by only one character in The Simpsons, the bus driver Otto: so laid back it’s not true. Also in that zone between major player and the bit on the pie chart that says “others” is RIM. Held back from being extrovert by their Canadian roots- it might be racist to say it but the Canadians are the nicest people on the planet – there is something Waylon Smithers about the reliability, loyalty, dullness and dependability of a Blackberry.

This is an easy game to play. You can do “what if car manufacturers were..” for lots of things. How about cars. Nokia is BMW, Sony Ericsson Alfa Romeo, Motorola GM, Samsung Audi, LG Seat, Apple and Apple Aston Martin. If anyone is interested I’ll explain my working.
What other analogies can you come up with.

Cat Keynes publishes her thoughts on the mobile phone industry every Sunday at www.catkeynes.com you can read the column  the previous Friday by subscribing here.

 

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