Back at Forum Oxford a lot of interesting debates occur. The topic on Apple and NFC is no exception. Being a European forum is no surprise how many Nokia fans get all ticked off about Apple, because things like NFC has been championed by Nokia (with no real success). One of the forum members is a well respected (no BS) Mobilist that I follow. His name is Dean Bubley. I thought about posting here one of our exchanges at the forum:

Dean>> “I think this is one of those rare occasions where Nokia gets it right (i.e. dropping NFC) and Apple gets it wrong (embracing NFC).”

CEO>> Nokia continues pushing for NFC. Last July they re-iterated their commitment.

Dean>> “Nokia did a bunch of trials, which despite the PR hyperbole were absolutely not “successful”. There is no clear consumer need, no business model, and a myriad of technical and user interaction problems.”

CEO>> Consumer feedback from trials (at least in the USA) have been positive. (note to self: try to find the results for the trials)

Dean>> “Quite rightly, Nokia realised that adding NFC to phones wouldn’t make them any extra money, any time soon (or indeed, probably ever).”

CEO>> See my comment above. The problem is the operator was not distributing (ordering) the Nokia NFC handsets. The problem is the operator wants control via the SIM card. But, Nokia will push forward with the non-Single Wire Protocol (SWP) handsets next year. Nokia and the other handset manufacturers realize that forcing NFC-app enablement via the SIM only will just slow things down/won’t work.

Dean>> “In particular, users would have to be insane to trust mobile payments to an operator rather than a 3rd party.”

CEO>> Again, this is why handset manufacturers will be offering non-SWP NFC handsets as well (via microSD NFC?). This will allow for 3rd party applications vs. operator-centered/controlled, where apps are restricted to a few big-name players.

So let’s see how Apple will approach this; very likely by not using the SIM/SWP approach.

And yes, part of NFC solutions are the services on the cloud. This approach would allow and leverage the developer ecosystem to bring useful apps to the consumer.

About ROI, it will be there via the apps similar today, plus perhaps additional transaction-based revenue.

And let’s not equate NFC to payments only; there are other interesting scenarios we will see once this is made available to the developer ecosystem.