This morning we revisited a topic we've discussed once or twice over the last few weeks, and that's unlimited data plans, and specifically talk in the context of value added data services. During the last few weeks all the major carriers in the United States have unveiled unlimited voice and data plans. Yet, as one person commented to me, all those plans exclude Blackberry. The BlackBerry service is priced separately and sometimes at much higher prices than raw data. Here in Canada, for example, Rogers charges $65 for 25Mb of data on Blackberry, despite the fact that they have a $65 for 1G of raw data plan available. Verizon charges by the number of emails received. AT&T and Sprint, however, have adopted an unmetered approach, simply charging for BlackBerry service.
We discussed whether this was a sustainable model… and the consensus is no. How long until RIM is affected by it, however, was unclear.
Our other topic was the spate of rumors over the weekend, starting with a blog post by Nick Carr, that Microsoft would announce this week that they're going to make online versions of the Office applications available. A lot of people, however, were disappointed when Gates announced hosted versions of Sharepoint and Exchange in his keynote this morning at the Sharepoint conference. Microsoft's Online Services now includes Office Communication Server, Sharepoint and Exchange, and it's targeted at small, medium and large businesses.
Two questions the group considered — is there really a threat from Google at this point? And is this enough to blunt that threat?