Mobile World Congress

A trip down MWC memory lane (Part III)

My third post in a five-part trip down Mobile World Congress memory lane, 14 shows from 2005 through to my upcoming 15th show. Today I remember the 2011 and 2012 shows as well as the first year at the Fira Gran Via in 2013, where the show is still held today.

Mobile World Congress 2011 – Nokia chooses Windows 7

60,000 visitors… MWC 2011 began with the news that new Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop, had decided that its fortunes would improve if it were to sign a strategic partnership with Microsoft to use its Windows 7 operating system. The fact that he came from Microsoft and had shares in both entities raised more than a few eyebrows. Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, unsurprisingly thought Elop had backed the wrong horse. All this happened while the Android platform, with its new Ice Cream incarnation, was going from strength to strength. The two-horse race between iOS and Android was well underway. Twitter’s Dick Costolo gave a keynote address, as too did Eric Schmidt (again) and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer.

Mobile World Congress 2012 – Huawei’s bunker, Vodafone needs a forklift and the CBOSS scandal

67,000 visitors… I can still remember seeing the Huawei bunker for the first time in 2012. It looked like a giant shed, made of corrugated iron. On closer inspection, it still looked like a giant shed. I’ve written about the Huawei MWC branding duel with Ericsson before – 2012 felt like the tussle was at its peak – although the smaller venue could have exaggerated matters. I also remember the forklift that needed to come to the rescue of Vodafone CEO, Vittorio Colao as his hospitality suite started to collapse halfway through a meeting. In terms of real news, Huawei was eating up the 4G equipment market and setting its sights on the consumer device market. Sony bought out Ericsson’s half of the Sony Ericsson collaboration as the Swedish giant exited the device business. John Donahoe, CEO of eBay was the big draw in the conference and Nokia was delaying the inevitable with its Lumia device launches. Russian vendor CBOSS also had its exhibitor contract terminated by the GSMA for highly inappropriate behaviour concerning young women – you all know the story…

Mobile World Congress 2013 – New venue, new hope for operators in OS world,

72,000 visitors… 2013 was the year the show landed at the Fira Gran Via, where it still remains today. A vastly larger venue, complete with automated walkways enabled the GSMA to increase show capacity. Mozilla attempted to become the show’s biggest story with the launch of its new, operator-inclusive, community-based Firefox OS. It intended to become a rival to iOS and Android. It left the smartphone market at the end of 2015 – Google is now involved in its potential resurrection. Rumours of an impending iWatch launch stirred interest in wearable technology and Deezer, DropBox and General Motors stood out as the non-telco keynote speakers.

If you are enjoying this trip down memory lane and have your own memories of these shows to share then please get in touch.

Written by Paul Nolan


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