Wireless carriers really want a No. 3 mobile operating system to balance the power of Google's Android and Apple's iOS, but the wild card is whether consumers play along.
Speaking at a Goldman Sachs investment conference Wednesday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam was asked about whether he was confident that there will be a No. 3 mobile operating system.
The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third ecosystem. I just saw in today's paper, as an example, Samsung has now announced they are going to open up the operating system that they developed, so they are a possibility. Microsoft is a possibility. RIM is a possibility. And I think that over the next 12 months, I think it will coalesce and you will start to see one emerge as a legitimate third ecosystem.
McAdam's remarks seem to indicate that the wireless carriers want another mobile platform and that there are levers that may work ensure a solid No. 3.
However, consumers have to buy in. For instance, RIM is talking about its BlackBerry 7 devices and QNX superphones, but the ultimate sell through remains to be seen. Microsoft is partnered with Nokia, which has little to no U.S. presence. Can carriers do enough promotion and pricing stunts to ensure a No. 3 mobile OS? And if they do will consumers buy in automatically?