Thursday, March 11, 2010

One difference between the enterprise and consumer markets

My act of commenting on an Oracle AppsLab post reminded me of an unrelated topic that I wanted to address.

As I previously shared, my corporate phone was recently turned off, which meant that I had to go out and buy my own phone. In the process, I realized some huge differences between enterprise purchases and consumer purchases, even for the same item.

Over the last couple of days, I've received several FREE messages from my phone service provider, telling me of AMAZING FEATURES that I can get if I just sign up RIGHT NOW. For only a few dollars a month, I can play all sorts of games, install all sorts of wonderful apps, and surf the Web to my heart's content.

Funny - I didn't get those messages while I was on my corporate phone.

There's a reason. For the last several years, my phones were bought by Motorola (and no, they didn't buy me Nokia phones), and they also paid the service charges. And when a large company like Motorola deals with the wireless service providers, they get to demand certain restrictions. Like "we don't want you bombarding our employees with special offers from our stores, because we're paying the bill and we're not going to pay for that." So I've been in a protective cocoon for the last few years, spared all of the advertising junk that consumer wireless phone users get every day.

And it's not just phones that have different configurations for enterprise vs. consumer customers. If you go to your local computer store and buy a computer, you'll probably get an operating system that is loaded with trial offers and links and other stuff for Microsoft Office, high-tier Norton/Symantec products, and even the AOL subscription offer. When big companies buy computers for their employees, all of that stuff magically disappears from the distributed computer.

The key word, of course, is "big." Small companies have to buy the same computers that consumers get, and very very rich consumers can probably tell HP or Verizon or whoever exactly how they want their computer or phone to be configured (of course, they'll have to pay the price). If you pay Verizon a million dollars, perhaps they'll consent to remove their app store from your phone.

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