Can you imagine Vodafone developing a Twitter clone, in-house? Probably not. But that’s what SK Telecom, the number one wireless service provider in Korea (sort of Vodafone of Korea) seems to be doing, with its new Tossi service.
Tossi is essentially a microblogging service with a bit of social networking, which can be accessed from both web and mobile. So it’s not so different from Twitter and Jaiku.
In Korea, there’s a well-known microblogging service called Me2Day. And it’s commonly known that SK Telecom has been discussing business partnership with Me2Day. But for some reason SK Telecom decided to go its way and develop the service away. Someone at SKT must have said “Hey, a microblogging service? No sweat – we can build something like that in 2 weeks.” That’s just my speculation, but that’s typicaly the way smart people at big companies think.
But the general opinion around the industry is SK Telecom should have just worked the partnership out with Me2Day instead of building its own service. That way, small companies can have an exit strategy and big companies can save time. That’s why there are a lot of acquisitions happening in the Valley. Those guys in the Valley aren’t exactly buying other smaller companies because they are generous, are they?
We know SK Telecom, like other big telcos, spent billions of dollars on securing the 3G bandwidth and they will do anything that will help them recuperate the investment. Well, if they want to recuperate billions of dollars, they should come up with a billion dollar plan – a plan that’s a lot more fundamental and sophisticated than copying a several person company.