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September 16, 2011

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Vikram

Yup, totally agree Tomi, Android is killing RIM especially among the consumer side. I would argue that iPhone has started eroding RIM on the enterprise side - but only very marginally - but I expect that to accelerate over time.

I keep arguing this point with Tomi, but RIM's drop is due to the same reason as with Nokia and with Window's Mobile - an inferior OS. BB OS, Symbian and Windows Mobile were very inferior experiences vs. iOS which "inspired" Android and that is what killed them. Android spread like wildfire because it was superior and was free for the other 3rd party manufacturers who couldn't build an OS in the same class as iOS, which Android is, and was the closest thing to the iPhone that was accessible and affordable to the masses.

cycnus

I think that RIM should provide their plan B & C now.

Assuming their plan A is QNX OS,
their plan B should be RIM android devices with BBM.
and their plan C should be only the BBM software for Android, WP7, iOS and quite the hardware manufacturing.

Baron95

Wrong!!!

You can't look at global data. The iPhone was (still is) supply constrained, and region/operator constrained.

The first two years of the iPhone (2007-2009), the iPhone was available on only one US carrier, a handful of European ones, no Japanese, Indian, Chinese Carrier.

If you look at the AT&T data, first carrier to offer the iPhone, and only US carrier to offer it until 2011, RIM sales were decimated by the iPhone. I.E. RIM lost market share to the iPhone from day one.

It is also true that Verizon and Sprint (not having access to the iPhone) went on a RIM defensive marketing frenzy. There was buy one Blackberry get one free on all non-AT&T carriers. So RIM took share from Windows, Nokia, Palm there.

And RIM expanded overseas where the iPhone was not. Samething with Symbian - it cratered in the US, then as iPhone invaded Western Europe, it cratered there, and now survives in Africa and on carriers like China Mobile that don't have the iPhone.

So I'm sorry, Tomi, your analysis is completely flawed, because you didn't control for iPhone availability.

Incidentally, you can see the same being repeated at Verizon. When the "Droid" campaign was launched in late 2009/2010, Verizon switched their marketing muscle from RIM to Android. Then RIM cratered there. Then, this year, once Verizon got the iPhone, you saw the iPhone take Verizon share away from RIM and Android.

Unfortunately for Nokia and RIM, iPhone and Android are slowly becoming available on more and more operators. So soon, RIM and Nokia won't have much space to hide.

Don't be fooled by this simplistic aggregate analysis. If you look at markets were both iPhone and RIM were wildly available RIM lost share. And it lost it fast. Even with huge price discounting.

Baron95

I should also point out that RIM has been forced to drop prices precipitously to remain competitive with Android and iPhone.

Apple is taking the oxygen out Nokia, RIM, (even Moto/HTC/Samsung) by forcing these companies to lower their prices and extinguish their profit hopes.

What would you say Tomi, if RIM maintained volume share by discounting their phones to the point of losing money? Wouldn't you say that Apple/iPhone killed RIM just the same?

Any mobile phone manufacturer (not supply constrained) can increase volume share by lowering price. The only way to analyze winners and losers in the smartphone market is to look at Units Sold x Gross Margins/Unit. It is on that basis alone that you can get the early warnings (that you failed to see) that Nokia and RIM have been trading margins for volume.

Do the homework - plot Apple Unit x Margin vs Nokia and RIM. It is not hard.

It is undeniable that Apple forced margins down for every competitor, and never lowered theirs. RIM can only choose how to die. They can maintain margins and lose volume. Or they can lower margins to maintain volume. Either way Apple (and the Android response to Apple) will kill them. RIM and NOKIA are not on a burning platform - they are on a burning building. They can die by fire (lower margins) or by jumping to the sidewalk (lower volumes)

Jeez

See Tomi. This is exactly what would have happened to Nokia with Vanjoki.. both were incompenent with their own software and can't build a strong ecosystem around tablets/clouds/entertainment/everything.

Nokia will be in a great position with WIN8 tablets and WIN8 phones. Believe. RIM will join Nokia eventually.. they are already heavily in bed with MS.

Piot

It's ironic really.

Tomi writes dozens of "bloodbath" articles and thousands of tweets.. informing us of how badly Apple was doing compared to their 'rivals' . Rim would 'definitely' gain market share... teenagers, who like to text while blindfolded, love Blackberrys.... Blackberry is the number one phone in Burkina Faso... etc.

As for Nokia... Well they had "the perfect strategy" to convert dumb phone users to Nokia smarts. Nokia already sold more smart phones than their three... No, wait...two!... No, one... closest rival(s). Nokia invented 'everything' first... and tasted better than Coca-Cola! What could possibly go wrong?

Quite simply, the majority of the (new to) smart phone buying public went out and bought something else.

Tomi, just at the time you were writing your iPhone 'obituary' (April 2010), the two largest players in the industry were starting their decline. By the second half of last year that decline had turned into a tumble. This year we are witnessing the fall. This, of course, was predicted by many of those 'dumb and incompetent', largely, American pundits.

Don't you think it's about time that you stopped berating journalists and analysts just because they dont see things your way? Especially as it now appears that many of them were right! I believe you should take another look at your smart phone market 'model' to try to discover how the 'wrong' players fell into the bloodbath.

kevin

It's not clear to me why your headline is what it is, because it is simplistic and misleading. As equally simplistic and misleading as if someone said the ONLY reason for BB's decline was iPhone. Clearly, obviously, today the combination of Android and iPhone is killing BB at all price points and phone types of the smartphone market. And today's RIM news could be foreseen as far back as June of 2010 in my responses to your iPhone obituary, though like you, most industry and financial analysts couldn't see it.

As Baron95 pointed out, iPhone on AT&T in 2007 started BB's decline, altho it was masked by BB’s growth on the other carriers (who stressed BB in order to compete for attention against the iPhone). But when the other carriers, especially Verizon, gave Android marketing support (support that used to be given to BB) in winter 2009, then that decline began on the other carriers. BB tried to escape by going international, but Android and iPhone, started to turn the tide on BB even in those countries by mid 2010. In the US, Verizon got the iPhone earlier this year, and in another month, Sprint will as well, so BB will take another beating.

So BB overshipped at the end of last year when it boosted shipments to 14.2m and 14.9m, in a desperate attempt to outship iPhone, having been “taunted” by Steve Jobs. The channel was stuffed, and now RIM is cutting shipments while still trying to sell lots of older inventory at reduced prices (like Nokia). Inventories have doubled to $1.37B on RIM's balance sheet.

In any case, iPhone really won’t kill any vendor simply on sales volume since it is supply-constrained as Piot notes; however, it will kill off vendors by sucking up most of the profit. By using its brand, cross-market (iTunes, iPad) expansion, and the large media interest, Apple is seducing/forcing vendors to divert R&D effort and funds to building an ecosystem, software (plus cloud) platform, and related non-smartphone devices; most of which are not core competencies for most of these vendors. RIM diverted its A-team to create the Playbook and unwisely spent additional effort on music subscriptions; talent and energy that previously would’ve been assigned to developing and releasing new updated smartphones more frequently.

Subtly, over time, the market has changed, and stuck-in-the-past pundits have obscured it and made it even harder for vendors to see it quickly. Trying to catch up from their late start, these vendors try to zig to where Apple is or was, but as they head there, Apple has already started to zag in still another direction. That's how Apple is doing the killing.

Leebase

Baron, Kevin and Piot nailed it (as usual). Everyone is gunning for Apple. Look at Android before the iPhone....it was going to look like Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Afterward, Google made it a clone of the IPhone.

Did RIM cone out with the Playbook out of originality? No, the are gunning for Apple. As is google with their so far failed "iPad Killers".

Google is setting the pace, for sure, with handset sails. But none of their partners is making "Apple Money". All of their partners combined are not making Apple Money. None of the Android app makers are making what iOS developers are. With Google spending tens of billions for patent protection, even Google isn't making money with Android.

We had a chance to see a heads up comparison with Verizon....the big home of Android in the US. It was posited that ATT had all the iPhone fans, but the iPhone (a six month old model at that) became the number one phone on Verizon while not impacting sales of the iPhone on ATT. The number 2 phone in the US is the iPhone 3GS which is only sold on ATT.

From 2007 till now....it is the iPhone that is leading the industry. Android lives as the choice for folks who's carrier doesn't have the iPhone or for those who can't afford an iPhone. Even greater than twice the iPhone marketshare, android is still not the target for other manufacturers like RIM.

Lee

marv08

Oh boy. Tomi, I expect better than that.

What were people buying BBs for? Email, email, email - and some teens for BBM (free messaging).

The first iPhone did not support Exchange/ActiveSync, it did not support push and it did not support MMS. So, how likely were BB users to go for an iPhone? Right. Not at all.

Since iOS 3 and 4 Apple has the best Exchange support in the industry. Multiple Exchange accounts, hardware encryption, remote wipe, MMS, free administration/deployment tools. Everything is there for 0% of the BB Enterprise Server's cost. No Android phone comes remotely close, and not even WP7 is yet fully competitive. And iOS 5, due out within less than a month, will also bring free messaging between iOS devices (all of them) and (this is a rumor) maybe even computers.

Yes, the iPhone was not targeting BB users when it came out (and your 2007 through 2009 number correctly reflects that), but just extending that timeline and saying "it must be the same now" is not sufficient at all. Yes, Apple's market share did only grow 2% after 2009, but we do not know at all, how many customers Apple lost to Android (because of the AT&T situation in the US, limited carrier deals in major European countries, only being on an also-ran carrier in China, not offering 4G, etc.). This figure can easily be north of 10%, and it would require a lot of BB customers to fill the gap, which is now 12% in this example. I do not know the exact customer movements, but neither do you.

I am not saying that iOS is stealing more BB customers than Android - I simply do not know that. I do know, that there are people moving from BBs to iOS though. I do not really believe in anecdotal evidence, but I certainly know more than 20 former BB users that moved to an iPhone, and maybe 5 that went to Android (plus 2 that moved back to a feature phone plus iPod touch for cost reasons). All of them in the last year. Apple is stealing BB customers, and calling people idiots spreading "nonsense and myths" when your only argument is outdated data... does not really convince.

karlim

Damn, Tomi, it is sad to watch your self destruction

Anyone can be excused for mistakes about iPhone, though Leebase Kevin and Baron95 were spot on that stuff - the ones of the very few here from those days

First I thought it was some sort of Elop hate that was destroying you. But this post shows that it is much deeper then that. It seems that any real world events that are contrary to the model of the world you constructed make you lash out. And call people names like "incompetent fools full of bullshit"

Well, those incompetent fools just decimated your argument about BB and iPhone in comments, and you still did not bother to reply to a single one of them despite your twitter floods in the past 2 days. As you did not bother to reply to a single comment to your previous "Why carriers hate Skype post".

It is your blog, you are not getting directly paid for it and all, it is your hobby, so you can do whatever you want with it. But there are some people commenting here,with a hope of discussing things with you, expecting your reply, who still believe your promise that you will reply to every single comment. Nobody made you make that promise, you did it yourself, multiple times, publicly. You said that you will and are replying to every single comment on your blog.

Have you checked your comment reply ratio on your blog lately? Haven't counted exactly, but my impression is that in the last 3-4 months you have replied to no more then 20% of comments on your blog. And less then 50% of comments that came in the first 48hrs, before your published first reply. So please stop promising everyone a reply - it is a blatant lie at this point.

Getting back to your analysis quality, and the sources you use as beyond any question of credibility for your psychopath Elop rants, what do you think about the fact that even Intel is abandoning Meego? That great OS that was supposed to save Nokia, but Elop killed?

What about Microsoft over Skype boycott, when every carrier is getting ready to push and subsidize WP Mango phones, and some of them - AT&T, Orange and soon T-Mobile are already doing that. What about HTC launching two new Windows Phones for holiday season? They do not international launch events before they get string carrier support. How does that play into your Skype boycott theory?

And about that Symbian boycott. If Nokia did not have a profit warning already-what are the chances that they will do as bad as you think? And talking about Symbian boycott-I haven't seen you acknowledging Gartner numbers for Q2 that showed that Nokia smartphone sales to end users were much better then Nokia reported and the problem was inventory push in q1 to carries all along?

What if Nokia reports an OK Q3? All your anti-Elop theories seem to be collapsing already.

Peter

@tomi, iphone is killing BB in USA (enterprise sector), bankers/real estate agents/government officials are all switching from BB to iPhone; Android is killing BB in Europe (consumer sector).
That's fair competition.

But Nokia is different story. It is Elop who was hired by US short sellers to kill from inside. Symbian consumers are immune from US media propaganda and its agencies. Thats why they put Elop as Nokia CEO under the guise of MS Trojan Horse. Actually he is the ciminal who has to be tried and put into prison neighboring with Madolf, Key Lay.

Peter

@karlim, "What if Nokia reports an OK Q3? All your anti-Elop theories seem to be collapsing already."
are you dreaming ? by which criteria, you think nokia will be okay for Q3 ?

It will be much worse than Q2 if you exclude the money transfer from MS which is illegal.

karlim

"are you dreaming ? by which criteria, you think nokia will be okay for Q3 ?"

Oh @Peter, and all the rest Nokia/Elop conspiracy theorists, why do you make it so easy? :)

I was talking to Tomi, and asking about his Nokia Q3 projections - 12.9 Symbian smartphones shipped.If the numbers were really that bad - we would already had a profit warning.

So anything for Nokia in smartphone shipments above 13.5 million would be OK compared to Tomi's projections and your conspiracy theories

karlim

@Peter

And I love your disagreement with Tomi over BB. So iPhone and Android is killing BB for some reason (crap OS I guess). But Nokia's crap Symbian OS was immune to that and it is criminal Elop who is killing it.

Care to elaborate on this big difference between BB OS an Symbian?

Leebase

@Karlim..... Well, it was Elop who wrote the burning platform memo, dumped both Symbian and Meego, and then climbed into bed with MicroSoft. While I don't buy into Elop conspiracy theories....surely Symbian is collapsing far faster than it would have had Elop not told the world he thought asymbian was crap and that Nokia was committing to Windows phones....a full year before having such phones ready to sell.

I think it's a bit recessing that Tomi is finally noticing Android. The Android dominance of the Smartphone world has been a much bigger story than Tomi has ever given it credit for. Sure, he's only brought it up to bash Apple supporters....still, I'd rather see more about Android from Tomi than Elop conspiracy theories and endless retelling of how great Symbian->qt->Meego WOULD have been.

Lee

Jukka

Android is doing what MeeGo was supposed to do. Linux-based, relatively open for everyone, fit for smartphones+tablets+netbooks. MeeGo arrived too late to this party. Android had already eaten MeeGo's lunch. Two years ago MeeGo/Maemo was still ahead with hte N900, but then they did not move fast enough and blew the window of opportunity.

apollo_dev_team

It's hard to believe that Tomi himself who wrote this blog.
I guess there must be a hacker hacked his blogs account and wrote this to sabotage his credibility and analytic quality.

But if it was Tomi himself then this is no longer different than a parody of mobile industry analysts, in addition of the Elop's hates and couple of (funny) conspiracy theories.

Petrer

@apollo_dev_team . @Karlim,

it is not conspiracy theory. it is day-robbing from US short sellers. man, who has eyes can see it except you guys who are so blind. you 'd better donate your eyes to those who are born blind !

Peter

@apollo_dev_team . @Karlim,

it is not conspiracy theory. it is day-robbing from US short sellers. man, who has eyes can see it except you guys who are so blind. you 'd better donate your eyes to those who are born blind ! instead of writing crap comments to waste resources.
it would be pathetic if you are hired to spread "conspiracy theory" to cover the day-robbing.

Peter

@Karlim, BB is crap since day 1, Symian is number 1 since day 1 that's the difference. Wall street bankers install BB's enterprise services to boast RIM's stock day-in day-out. using its controlled media to spread BB's addiction. it is not BB addiction, it is wall-street money addiction which distorts everything till Steve Jobs's Iphone comes to the stage. WS can not cover crap BB for ever. WS reluctantly to switch to apple initially till today it accelerates the process after it boast BB's stock price to $145. then short sell it to $22.

WS has no love of Steve Jobs nor iPhone but the fiat money it creates from thin air.

It is a pity tomi knows nothing about WS financing. so his mobile analysis can not hit the point most of the time.

Symbian is different. it doesn't rely on US market so US media propaganda lost its influence on Symbian consumers. without US so called enterprise market, BB is dead. nokia can still keep it as number one mobile phone sellers.

That's why they hire Steve Elop to kill nokia from inside under the guise of MS trojan horse. He is not MS trjon horse. He is commiting crime from day 1 like he sold macromedia within 3 months after he was promoted as CEO. Steve Elop is professional destroyer of WS hired criminal.

He has no clue about software, marketing, management, execution.

He is much worse than previous management team.

Now we all know why.

Steve Elop is on US WS short sellers mission to destroy nokia from inside.

Piot

@peter
"you 'd better donate your eyes to those who are born blind
instead of writing crap comments to waste resources."

Are you for real?

Baron95

Maybe Peter is Tomi or Tomi's assistant and that is how Tomi chose to respond to the posts :) :)

------

Seriously, guys. Lets stay on topic. This can actually an interesting discussion of disruption and competition in the smartphone and mobile handset segment. Leave the conspiracy theories and skype to the other posts.

To understand how Apple (iPhone/iPad/iTouch/iTunes/iCoud) is killing RIM and Nokia, you need to keep in mind a few facts.

1 - Not all subscribers have the same value to handset makers and operators. The early adopters of the iPhone ($300 average subsidized retail + US$1,500.00/year average plan), started flocking to AT&T and the iPhone - and sent alarm bells through Verizon, etc. Even though it was in tiny numbers.

2 - RIM and Nokia were initially somewhat immune to the iPhone effect. iPhone was only available in low volumes. Over 50% in the US. Only a handful of carriers. Only post paid. And smartphones were a small percentage of the market (particularly if you exclude the Blackberry - really a message phone, not a true modern smartphone back then).

3 - By the time the 3GS and iPhone 4 and iOS 3/4 rolled in, with more availability, more features (Exchange, good cameras, etc), the trickle of influencers and high value/high spending customers flocking to iPhone, become a steady stream. By that time carriers like Verizon, KDDI, China Mobile, etc who could not get the iPhone, started to panic. Particularly Verizon who (even giving BB for by one get one free, was losing all its high value customers). The result was the Verizon/Google/Motorola-led Android push.

4 - Once other carriers saw that Verizon managed to field an somewhat successful alternative to the iPhone with "Droids" and Apple turned up the heat with iPhone 4/iPad one-two punch, the stage was set. EVERY MAJOR CARRIER had an iPhone or Android strategy. It was plainly clear that you had to field the iPhone or you had to field an Android collection (or both) or you lost your high value customers.

5 - In Q1/2011 Apple and Android OEMs really increased capacity, so more carriers could get volume. That is when you see that BOTH Nokia and RIM for the first time EVER started shipping less handsets - they both saw a simultaneous steep decline (just look at the Asymco charts). Nokia had the burning platform. RIM had the stay the course with BB7/QNX (their equivalent of S^3/Meego) - yet they both suffered the same fate. Steep reversal from growing volumes to declines.

6 - Which brings us to the present situation. Non American OSes (Symbian, BB7, Bada, are going no where). Android and iOS have consolidated their standing. They are THE ONLY OSes that power phones, tablets and TVs - THE ONLY. That is the minimum needed to have a successful ecosystem. Apple still has the advantage on music.

Now what has the best chance of success? RIM stick with their in-house OSes (BB7/QNX) or Nokia, ditch their in-house OSes and go with Microsoft? It is the defining strategic choice for both companies. It was a CEO/Board judgment call - not a clear cut obvious decision.

IN MY OPINION - RIM will suffer a worse fate by sticking to its guns - I think they will go the way of PALM and lose it all. Nokia will be greatly diminished and will never again lead the industry, but, they will do much better. Not with Windows Phone 7. But with Windows 8 running across Phones, Tablets, perhaps TVs and XBOX. It will take some time, but ultimately, that is the best chance of a meaningful 3rd choice for the industry. No-one else can do it. Only Nokia+Microsoft, over 3 years have that chance. If they execute well (not a given), they can end up with 15% or so of the smartphone market in 3 years. That a lone can be 100M units/year. Not bad.

That is the serious discussions we should be having - what Nokia and Microsoft need to do to get that 15%. And what RIM need to do to avoid the Palm fate.

Instead we waste time talking about silly things - like conspiracy and denial that Apple killed RIM. Apple killed the profits of all its competitors. Apple forced the industry (Verizon, Moto, Samsung, HTC) to rally behind Android, and Android killed RIMs and Nokia's unit volume. It is all connected.

Titanium

maybe Peter's theory is a little bit exaggerated but points to the right direction: Elop mission is to do MS (or Wall Street if you like more) interests.

1) defence:
Kill MeeGo beacause if it eventually have succeded it would've been a very big treat to MS. And not only for mobile but for the whole OS market because after the server market already dominated by linux if also the mobile market would be dominated by linux (a true linux not that surrogate that is android) then we would've seen a contagion also to the nascent tablets market, IVI etc... till the Desktop and Enterprise (where actually MS make its moneys)

2) conquer new markets:
kill Symbian to make room for Windows Phone


People who hate Elop hate him because they understood that the new strategy wasn't necessary to save Nokia but for the long time MS interests.

Nokia could've been saved just with a better execution. Look at N9 and at the new Symbian Belle: they are very close to android and iPhone and probably definitively better in other six month. But they took too much time, a sign of not competitiveness in SW. So I agree that some big change was necessary to regain competitiveness, but losing their independence was a too high price.

Even the new strategy could have been executed in a more sane way. Why on hearth a CEO has to do that infamous Burning Platform memo? That memo haven't helped Nokia in any way. Contrary it made enormous damages to Nokia.
Could a CEO don't understand that? No, so the only explanation is that he made it intentionally to justify an otherwise unneeded and too suspicious change in strategy.

Without that memo today Nokia would have been in a better position capable to regain a good market share autonomously without becoming a MS slave.
Now the best for Nokia is a miracle on the Symbian front and a cold WP front

LeeBase

How many YEARS of "not executing" does one go through before you realize you AREN'T GOING to execute?

Meego is open source...so if it was ready...why aren't other companies cranking out Meego phones?

Nokia made the best deal they could while they still mattered. If anything, Msft got hoodwinked into making concessions to Nokia based on getting the top brand in smart phones to adopt WP. By the time Nokia produces a WP it won't be in the top 3 smart phone makers. Nokia imploding is not good news for Msft.

Android dominating marketshare is just another opportunity for Tomi to miss the point. Who is making money with Android? Samsung and HTC at the moment. Handsome profits? Not really. Are they in a position to feel comfortable they those profits will keep coming? How could they? Motorola, Sony, LG, Huwei, ZTE -- pretty much everybody is working to drive margins to ZERO for Android smart phones.

Apple, on the other hand, is making more money than all the Android manufacturers combined. More than all of ANY smartphone makers combined. Is there any reason to think they will continue to do so? Absolutely. They remain the top most desired phone. They are under no pressure to lower margins. Their growth is still constrained by not being on all carriers and inability to make enough phones to meet demand.

Their YEAR OLD phone is still the number one selling phone. Their TWO year old phone is the SECOND best selling phone (at least in the US).

But Tomi is no more going to pay attention to this part of the story now than he ever has.

Lee

TDC

It looks like BB is pretty much going down very badly do you guys think Nokia+Microsoft will be able to capture their enterprise market. With Microsoft's already well proven enterprise products like office and exchange I think IF Nokia+Microsoft execute well they could decimate BB in this domain...

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit www.tomiahonen.com Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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