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A recent Computer Letter featured "location technology" as a key trend that will be driven by the move to wireless. Basically, the theory goes that for m-commerce to be really effective, a consumer will need to be located via this technology, and then matched up with a range of potential produsts/services that are relevant to that consumer. ie you are driving about looking for a pizza, and your cellphone buzzes with a 25% coupon for a pizza round the corner.
Companies involved in this include Qualcomm, MSFT, Nokia etc etc, but it strikes me that some kind of databases will be crucial.

Hence my interest in MapInfo, who have recently done a deal with Oracle to provide them with location services for their e-biz applications. Does anyone have any insights into this company and its potential in the m-commerce space?
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My understanding on the m-commerce front is that Infospace is the leader here. The fact that ORCL (which I own) says it is interested does not mean a lot in this case, unless it becomes a critical intermediary between the provider and the customer. I don't believe its strength in databases will help them leverage this space.

It is also worth questioning the whole premise of m-commerce. Now, I'm definitely a low-impact consumer. We don't eat out much, or buy much, period. But really, how many of us A) have so much time that we can suddenly say, "Hey, there's a coupon for Chinese food around the corner. We have unlimited time. Let's go there instead of going home for dinner." I envision getting this call at 3rd and Folsom next to Cham Thai Food. Sounds good. However, since I'm in my car, I know it will take another 20 minutes to park and 10 to walk to the store.

Then there's B) Does one want to have one's cell phone jammed by junk solicitation? This would defeat the purpose for many, I think.

I can see this as being great for tourists in SF, NYC, London, Paris and a few other places, but most of us have our favorite spots and don't have the time/spontaneity to switch gears so rapidly.

I also question whether I'm really going to be checking that Ebay auction or insisting that I order that Amazon book RIGHT NOW!!

Of course, I don't even have a cell phone, so I'm not your average consumer, but m-commerce sounds like a pain in the neck, and if it's skimming a minor percentage off of meals/small purchases from those folks with lots of time/spontaneity, I'm not convinced.

dashmuir
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