Aside from making units,
Blackberry also earns from their BIS (Blackberry Internet Service). You know that thing which lets emails find you ‘anywhere’ in the world.
iPhone also earns from their AppStore, 30% from each application sold.
Nokia earns by making gazillion models of their mobile phones.
So if you compare Blackberry to Nokia, it has lesser variety of unit models because even if blackberry do not create new models, they still earn from their BIS. While for Nokia, they always have to release units every month to have sales.
So while different mobile companies are sweating out ways to get consumers to buy their products, the TELCOS are there sitting on their throne very fat getting rich from all the ‘hardwork’ of mobile companies. Because all mobile phones, from iPhone to Chinese shit will pass through them. If iPhone 4 fails, TELCOS will not lose any thing. And for blackberry, aside from charging you for your data use, they will also charge you for your BIS (in case of local TELCOS).
So how about the mobile developers? One of the ‘revolutionary’ thing about the AppStore is that it ’empowers’ developers to develop mobile softwares and sell it ‘directly’ to users without having to go to TELCOS. Because TELCOS do not really care about the pennies you earn from your apps because they are shitting gold from the voice/sms/data services. (Though, AppStore was not really the first for doing it because it’s already possible to sell mobile apps with Nokia/Palm before appstore but it was Apple that popularizes the application ecosystem.)
Thus, you do not see much applications that are SMS/MMS-based because you need to go through the TELCOS for this. And, as I say and based from my own experience, it’s not that sunshiny dealing with them. I’m not sure if it is how it still works, but TELCOS gets 80% for those ‘text your artista/download your rington’ services, and developers have a measly 20% plus the papers, and ass-kissing you need to do just to get them to work with you. So AppStore was like an oasis for the developers since developers no longer need to deal with ‘telcos’ just to get their applications to the hands of consumers.
But even with the positiveness of appstore to developers, I cannot help but felt that Apple is like just ‘using’ the developers to make money without having to only depend on sales of iPhone unit.s So like the BIS of blackberry, Apple is still earning from the Appstore even if sales on their units is low.
So while apple and android are like in a war with each other, and mobile developers have to bend to Jobs’ rules and to Android’s different versions of mobile units, TELCOS are enjoying the buffet.
And, the consumers? Hopefully, not the collateral damage.