CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 6 // -- The FCC 700MHz wireless spectrum auction will produce deal-making with lots of cash changing hands but only small near-term tech advances as far as the consumer is concerned, according to results from a The Battle for the Wireless Internet war game run by Fuld & Company, the nation's leader in competitive intelligence.
Held at the historic American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Cambridge, Mass., the institution where Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated the telephone in 1876, students assumed the identities of companies in the 21st century wireless internet space, including:
-- University of Chicago Graduate School of Business - Google
-- Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management - Intel
-- Harvard Business School - AT&T Mobility
-- MIT's Sloan School of Management - Vulcan Capital
Teams worked to predict corporate strategies that may follow the upcoming FCC auction closing. They concluded that the industry will be hard-pressed to build out the infrastructure needed to enhance consumer benefits in the next two-to-three years.
Kellogg's team, representing Intel, won the war game contest based on four criteria: its strategic insight, accuracy in presenting Intel's strategy, creative ways it expressed Intel's vision in the wireless Internet space, and, finally, its ability to project its strategic vision into the future.
War Game Predictions included:
-- Intel will likely enter the landscape through the backdoor by helping
PC makers get into the handset business. Rather than try to push an
equivalent Intel Inside(R) theme to the handset companies -- an action
that will likely be resisted because of the "chip tax" these companies
would absorb, Intel will work their way into the WiMax space through
the PC world (a market Intel already dominates) as the two spaces
-- Google will do "a little evil" and partner with AT&T (or possibly one
of the other phone carriers not represented in the game; Verizon is a
second likely choice) by forming an exclusive but time-limited
agreement, similar to the AT&T-iPhone deal. For the term of this
agreement with Google, AT&T will open its network to other handheld
devices and applications, breaking down the "walled garden" that the
major carriers currently have in place. In exchange, the student team
suggested that Google will share 20% of its advertising revenue with
-- Adult content may become the "killer app" for launching the wireless
Internet. As suggested by one of the judges in response to team
discussions on applications, adult content is already a significant
presence on the Internet and will likely have the same effect on the
wireless Internet when launched.
-- Google's roll-out of Android will run into stiff resistance on the part
of mobile phone manufacturers because Google and handset producers have
opposing views of the wireless future. Traditional handset
manufacturers (led by companies such as Nokia and chip companies, such
as Intel) will resist Google's march towards open-source and open
development based on its Android platform. Intel and mobile phone
manufactures believe that they can only make money by selling feature-
rich, memory-rich phones. Simple phones are commodities. Google's
Android and its cloud computing concept moves data and operating
software away from the devices and onto the network (closer, of course,
to Google's ad-serving machine).
Following an initial round, Fuld introduced a disruptive scenario. The future scenario, dated May 6, 2008 (post-auction), involved Sprint Nextel teaming up with DirectTV owner and former cable TV wheeler and dealer, John Malone, WiMax company Clearwire, and the newly minted Microsoft-Yahoo! to form the first truly wireless Internet joint venture. The pressure of imminent competition from this fictional scenario forced all four teams to grapple with both their limitations and the reality of their vision for the future.
About Fuld & Company
Fuld & Company, a global leader in competitive intelligence, has facilitated war games for companies around the world. These are typically private, closed-door sessions for executives needing to make critical decisions. The Fuld-run Battle for the Wireless Internet was a public event held on March 4, 2008 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. For further information, please visit: http://www.fuld.com.