The Microsoft-Nokia partnership, which was announced last week, could represent a critical step towards reducing the complexity of mobile banking app development. In fact, yesterday Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft and Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia took to the
stage at Mobile World Congress (MWC) to discuss the importance of creating a strong "third ecosystem” for mobile devices, platform and services.
Previously, many financial institutions have been put off developing mobile apps by the number of different platforms, each with their own unique operating systems, programming languages and technologies. This problem is then compounded by the fact that
there are over 2,500 different types of mobile device, each with their own blend of operating system, screen size and resolution, user interfaces, etc.
This complexity represents a major barrier to entry for banks, as they are unable to provide a deep user interface with an enriched customer experience across all platforms. The result has been that most financial institutions and organisations have either
focused on one platform (e.g. Apple) or built shallow user interfaces on multiple platforms. The worst case scenario is that some banks have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to mobile banking, as they are not confident they have the internal resources to keep
up with the rapid advances in technology.
The news of the Microsoft-Nokia tie up now means that the number of rich smartphone ecosystems will be reduced to three. Now there is little excuse for banks and companies not to start delivering meaningful innovation via the mobile. For the mobile industry,
as Ballmer noted during his MWC keynote: “It’s moving from a devices battle to a platform battle”, however for banks and financial services companies, the battle is just beginning to see who will fully take advantage of the ability to provide a rich mobile
experience to their customers. Perhaps ‘three’ will be a magic number for banks looking to join the smartphone revolution.