CNET are reporting that mobile operators O2 and Orange may not stock the Nokia N97 which has Skype pre-loaded on the phone. They are worried that the ability to Skype will be at a detriment to the number of voice calls being used, and paid for.
I think they need to look at the target audience for the Nokia N97 and realise that if these people want to use Skype on their phone they are going to have it on their phone whether it comes pre-loaded or whether they have to get it themselves. There is also the fact that the N97 won’t be sold on a cheap contract anyway, so they will make their money as soon as the customer signs on the dotted line.
If is true it’s not a good precedent, they need to embracing these technologies and ingratiating themselves with the potential customer base. Skype is just the first of many applications that may threaten the traditional mobile phone model – mobile phone companies are going to have to strategise to include these or risk outdating themselves compared to companies that do see what the customer wants. It may not be an easy ride, but it’s there really is no other choice.