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IP: Palm VII + Wireless + E-Commerce
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 16:27:07 -0500



Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 14:25:46 -0500
From: "Alan A. Reiter" <reiter () wirelessinternet com>
Reply-To: reiter () wirelessinternet com
Organization: Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.05 [en] (Win95; I)
To: farber () cis upenn edu
Subject: Palm VII + Wireless + E-Commerce

There has been a lot of press about the wireless-enabled Palm VII that's
slated to come out.  There's an interesting aspect that no one seems to
have touched upon: the creation of a wireless e-commerce market
business.

The wireless industry has been searching for new revenue streams, and
one of the biggest potential opportunities will be electronic
transactions combined with automatic "device" location services.  It's
just a matter of time before subscribers receive offers based upon their
preferences and location.

Many companies providing services for the Palm VII -- Bank of America,
Certicom, E*Trade , Netscape, Ticketmaster and Yahoo -- could be
participants in the early days of building a wireless e-commerce
business.

Granted, it's somewhat esoteric today.  But...For example, a Palm VII
user could receive concert information from Yahoo, transfer cash from a
stock sale via E*Trade to a Bank of America credit card to pay for
tickets through Ticketmaster with security provided by Certicom, and
then send e-mail to a friend inviting him/her to the concert using
Netscape's mail system.

However, the Palm VII's wireless strategy is not without problems. 
Battery constraints prevent the radio from being always on, so you can't
use it as a real-time pager.  It must be used instead as a sort of
e-mail "companion" to check messages occasionally.  

Also, Web sites must be configured for the wireless service, so that
will give pause to many Web site developers.  And, at $800, are the
applications sufficiently compelling to purchase a device that will be
more than twice as expensive as the highest-end Palm?

Moreover, will people accept today's airtime prices?  My feeling is a
key part to the success of this wireless e-commerce business will be
advertiser-supported airtime.  Ticketmaster provides free information
and airtime to send concert schedules so that subscribers will purchase
tickets over the air.  E*Trade provides free stock quotes and analysis
in exchange for wireless trading. 

3Com has also now challenged the Windows CE folks.  Manufacturers of
Windows CE electronic organizers are exploring e-commerce opportunities
with carriers. Keep your eye on the most innovative paging companies,
such as PageMart, PageNet and Skytel, as well as aggressive cellular and
PCS carriers.  Microsoft is promoting its "micro-browser" which is
designed to provide wireless services that don't require a
reconfiguration of Web sites. (We'll see if that actually occurs.)

Microsoft and Qualcomm have teamed up to create WirelessKnowledge, a
service bureau-kind of company that will enable users of many wireless
devices and networks to obtain e-mail as other Exchange/Outlook data. 
In the future, information services will be added.

So, within the past several weeks both Microsoft and 3Com have given a
thumbs up to wireless -- at least some aspects of wireless -- and these
two companies aim for mass business markets.

My guess is that in 1999 we will see a significant number of innovative
services offered over wireless networks.  This is just the beginning.



============================================================================
=====
Alan A. Reiter, President                 |consulting, publications,
conferences         
Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing      |E-Mail:
reiter () wirelessinternet com 
http://home.earthlink.net/~aareiter(new)  |Phone: 301-951-0385
http://www.wirelessinternet.com           |Fax: 301-951-0387


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