ITProPortal had a brief meeting yesterday with some senior managers at Gemalto, the Dutch company that made the headlines when rumours that it is working with Apple on an integrated SIM for the iPhone 5 emerged late last month.
We asked specifically about whether a deal was on the table with Apple for the iPhone 5 and unsurprisingly, we were told that nothing has been agreed yet with Apple, rather than the usual “no comments” that are usually uttered by senior managers.
Indeed, Gemalto explained to us why such a deal, which involved a significant amount of devolution from the mobile phone operators to the mobile phone manufacturers, is unlikely to happen without the tacit approval of network carriers themselves.
Gemalto has been a strategic partner for mobile phone operators for more than a decade now (the company is the biggest SIM manufacturer in the world) and gets the majority of its revenue (more than 60 per cent of last year’s 1.654 billion Euros).
It would therefore be risky to turn one’s back on a traditional, proven market in order to please one player however attractive that may be.
Another reason as to why the deal will not happen resides in the fact that Apple is a global player and doesn’t have the combined local presence of the 400 or so mobile phone operators Gemalto partners with.
Indeed, Gemalto – which has sued Google over patents – seems keen to work even closer with the mobile phone networks, allowing them to add value added services, reversing the current trend that tries to reduce their roles to mere wireless data pipes.
And one cannot fail to noticed that Gemalto has stepped up its acquisition spree with five buys between May 2009 and June 2010; two acquisitions in particular were frequently mentioned during our conversation; Cinterion, a M2M outfit, and Valimo Wireless which deals with mobile authentication.
One recurring, underlying theme in our discussion was the fact that there is a market for a secured App Store platform, one that goes one step beyond your bog-standard mobile application repository and could eventually be whitelabelled and rolled out by mobile operators worldwide.
Why not have a look at our article on the potential uses of NFC (Near Field Communication) on the iPhone 5.Leave a comment on this article