Why I Think EQO Is Doomed
Image via CrunchBase, source unknown
I don’t like to prognosticate, but after reading the latest PR speak from EQO, I am not overly optimistic about EQO’s chances at success.
The latest thing they are releasing is a version of their EQO client geared specifically at operators. EQO originally started out as a way to bring Skype to your mobile, now they offer a multi-IM client along with a way to make international calls using “local” (to the caller) gateways. This is similar to the consumer Jajah service, Rebtel, and more recently, Truphone Anywhere.
While I don’t think their downloadable consumer-level application has this, they supposedly provide more functionality:
EQO CE transforms almost any mobile phone’s traditional phonebook into a social phonebook. EQO’s social phonebook allows users to stay connected to friends, family and business contacts – from anywhere at any time. Whether users want to view their contacts’ presence, status and location, or communicate with them via IM, messaging and voice, EQO offers it all from an integrated mobile application. EQO also interfaces with web-based social networks and content sites, allowing users to subscribe to friend and news feeds to get relevant information in a timely fashion. Across all supported platforms, EQO’s community has exploded to millions of users in over 220 countries.
So why do I think this is a bad strategy? First, relying on the slow, plodding carriers to get built into their branded phones. Some of the things I’ve seen related to operator acceptance testing for mobile phones suggests this will be a long, slow process that could take years to see anything worth the trouble.
The client itself is fine for an end user, but a carrier might see it differently. It essentially cannibalizes SMS by giving people away around the cost–providing access to IM services. It eliminates International long distance charges–something the carriers make an obscene profit on, if you ask me.
Finally, while the Nokia version of the EQO client itself has improved quite a bit from the last time I looked at it, there are a number of other, similar clients out there, Palringo and Fring being two examples that also include voice on some level! Getting EQO CE pre-installed on a carrier phone–assuming that can be pulled off–might give them a leg up, but I can’t say I’m optimistic.
What do you think about this?