Sramana Mitra on the impact of the iPhone

This morning, MobilityBeat included a link to an interesting post at Seeking Alpha that introduced me to Sramana Mitra.

Sramana appears to write about a bunch of interesting topics and occasionally those topics intersect with my mobility world. One of her recent general threads has been all about the impact of the iPhone.

This morning’s post is on “iPhone and the Future of Cisco“: “Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco and Apple will explore interoperability in their products. Meaning, an ensuing collaboration between Linksys and Apple, I presume? … I wish them good luck. Linksys is truly the world’s most user un-friendly consumer product in the market. … Cisco looking into a mirror would expose so may worts, freckles, gray hair, wrinkles, and dead skin, that a grand spa treatment with Apple may just be what the doctor ordered.”

Yesterday’s post was on “iPhone and the Future of Texas Instruments“: “TI has become one of the top players in wireless chips, closely followed by Qualcomm. It is also a leader in Digital Signal Processing (DSP), important for all video-heavy applications, and if the iPhone is to become a video-phone, we need strong DSP capability. … Finally, hyper-integration and low-power design are two other key design areas that the company understands really well. ” (she then goes on to say TI may be a good choice long term as a chip supplier for Apple).

Wednesday’s post was on “iPhone and the Future of Qualcomm“: “Apple has a great knack for aligning the arrowheads of an industry, and since the global interoperability and standardization problem is already bugging the mobile industry, they just may decide to force the issue to resolution. This would not spell good news for Qualcomm.”

Tuesday, it was “iPhone and the Future of Microsoft“: “This is a very strange perspective, but I think in the mobile world, the iPhone is actually driving the market towards Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS, and away from the current OS leader Symbian.” She then introduces her logic, leading to… “The above indicates the increasing necessity for a robust and full-scale OS on this convergence device, making the Palm OS, RIM, and even Symbian, gradually irrelevant.”

Monday, it was “iPhone and the Future of ARM“: “Warren East, CEO of ARM, has confirmed that ‘at least three’ ARM processor cores are present within the iPhone from Apple Inc. ” (this post is much more interesting to those that follow the semiconductor industry than it is to me…)

Last Friday, similarly, Sramana wrote on “iPhone and the Future of Marvell“: “Marvell scored the design win to provide the Wi-Fi chip for the iPhone, and if the product and the functionality takes off, could have a nice upswing.”

Last Thursday, Sramana was back in my world with “iPhone and the Future of Samsung“: “Interestingly, Samsung has multiple businesses and skill-sets that position them as a potential threat and a possible supplier to Apple … In many ways, the iPhone plays to Samsung’s strengths and versatility, offering it the opportunity to come in as the somewhat lower-priced alternative to the iPhone, and win market share, if it chooses to position itself as an iPhone competitor.”

Early last week she was back in the semiconductor world with “iPhone and the Future of Intel“, “iPhone and the Future of Broadcom“, and “iPhone and the Future of Nvidia“: “The iPhone, if successful, will drive all the computer and handset vendors towards a convergence device, including most of Intel’s top customers: HP, Dell, Lenovo. Remember, I said, the iPhone is positioned against the laptop, not the cell phone, and therefore, Intel can pose the most important challenge to Apple, by powering all its competitors with a low-power, high-performance, mobile-ready chip that leapfrogs the market.”

Going back another week, Sramana was back in the mobility industry. “iPhone and the Future of Palm“: “Analysts tend to agree that Smartphones is where the growth is. … On the OS side, Symbian dominates, but its market share is eroding, with Microsoft Windows Mobile and Linux gaining ground. … Palm has a lot of relationships, and a good implementation of Windows Mobile phones. This makes it the most valuable as an acquisition target for those laptop vendors trying to defend themselves against this positioning in the long term, and those who do not have any existing mobile carrier relationships to get into this game easily. … I do believe going at it alone will be extremely difficult for them at this point, unless they really change their strategy and go for a hardcore enterprise play as I explored earlier, or go for the lower-priced emerging market killer app strategy.”

On April 26, it was “iPhone and the Future of Motorola“: “Like other top handset vendors, Motorola’s cellular handset business is thriving around the world, but is suffering under tremendous margin pressure. They need more products in the highend. Translation, they need a better position in the SmartPhone / Convergence Device segment.”

Before that, it was “iPhone and the Future of Laptops“: “I wrote in an earlier piece, that the iPhone is most likely to be positioned against laptops, as a convergence device that eliminates the need to have to carry around multiple devices. …The branding of this Laptop replacement as a Phone is a clever marketing move. “Here, look, we have a phone that can replace your laptop …” Never mind that it is a VERY EXPENSIVE PHONE.”

Back on April 24, it was “iPhone and the Future of Nokia“: “Overall, it seems to me that only a very small sliver of Nokia’s business will get impacted by the iPhone in the foreeable future. However, as Nokia and other handset makers struggle with the atrociously low margin business they’re in, they will all try to move up the value chain, and get more of the high-end, higher margin products into their mix. This is where, iPhone is a threat to Nokia’s future, because that small sliver of the market is a rather critical piece of Nokia’s equation.”

And she kickied the series off with “iPhone and the Future of RIM“: “RIM and Apple are by and large not competing for the same customer base. RIM, in its segment (Prosumer SmartPhone), is the second most popular vendor, behind Nokia, having overtaken Palm. … The longer term story may, therefore, become very different, as Apple expands out of the Consumer segment, and uses its ‘Ultimate Convergence Device’ positioning to go after small laptops, NOT just the SmartPhones. This would require them to address issues like an enterprise class messaging system, the core differentiating function for the RIM Blackberry lines.”


How have I been missing this? And how much longer can she keep it up?

I, for one, am going to stay tuned to find out. Thanks Sramana for all the insights!

(Now, if Sramana could just apply her ample brainpower to consider how the value created by mobility factors into all of this…)

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