iPhone SDK to lead to major business mobile growth

27 Jun 2008

MADRID – O2’s parent company Telefonica said today it will be expanding the iPhone to 16 markets worldwide, opening the device up to a potential market of 500 million people.

The company’s chief executive, Matthew Key, told siliconrepublic.com that the iPhone software developer kit (SDK) will drive major growth in the enterprise mobile sector.

The head of innovation at Telefonica, Steve Adler, said Telefonica would be rolling out the iPhone in European countries like Ireland, the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic but also in countries in Latin America where Telefonica has 30pc of the telecoms market.

“This will give us the ability to sell the iPhone to a potential market of 500 million people.”

Adler said as a result of the iPhone and the new SDK, the company is anticipating new revenue streams.

“The market for apps on the iPhone will obviously lead to higher data usage, especially amongst business people. Our feedback is the SDK is user-friendly. It will bring great innovation to the market.”

Adler also said as well as looking at introducing prepaid versions of the iPhone, Telefonica is keen to foster and develop a marketplace for third-party applications for the device.

“We know our market best and our customers best. We have a good working relationship with Apple, and we’re using both companies’ skills.

“We’re not taking sides though. We are seeing other manufacturers introducing more touchscreen phones in the market. You’ll see rapid development in what services will be available.

Adler said when the iPhone is introduced on 11 July, it will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

He also explained Telefonica is already working to foster a thriving third-party applications market.

“I’m testing new enterprise applications and we have a number of enterprises in the UK on trial.”

Asked if he thinks the introduction of the iPhone into the enterprise market will cause a conflict or disrupt the existing BlackBerry device market, Adler said he didn’t think so with Apple selling to both device families.

“A considerable percentage of our sales are smart phones. As far as we’re concerned, it’s all about growing the segment and the growing market – BlackBerry is still a strong business for us.”

Adler said Telefonica has been consumed with identifying the best models for getting the iPhone into people’s hands.

“The biggest thing that could grow this market will be the SDK. It will lead to a movement that will find ways of using phones people have never dreamt of. We’re blown away by how it becomes a reference point for information people need, that’s about to start another revolution.”

When the third-party applications market kicks off, Adler revealed that 70pc of revenue from the sale of applications will go to developers and 30pc will go to Apple.

“Things are moving forward fast. We want to be involved, not as software developer, but we are encouraging people close to us to get onboard with the SDK. It’s going to attract millions of developers.

“For example, an insurance manager from the UK stepped up recently to demo his application which he developed in his bedroom, a music simulator with guitar, piano and drums; he’s going to make a fortune!”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years