Conversation with JumpTap: Of Androids and Trojan Horses

White label mobile search and ads provider JumpTap is arguing that Google's Android platform is a "Trojan Horse" that ultimately seeks to siphon off carrier customer relationships and potential ad revenues. Here's one version of that story from Adam Saroca, JumpTap GM, on Search Engine Watch.

I believe some version of that future is possible but what I would call "the reality" is more complicated. Accordingly, I had what I would call a more nuanced conversation with Jorey Ramer, VP of Corp. Dev for JumpTap. We had the "Android is a Trojan Horse" conversation but also spoke about the ways in which the psychological shake-up in the market caused by Andriod -- psychological because there are not yet any phones out -- could benefit JumpTap and accelerate their business.

We also talked about how opening up of the market benefits all players in theory. Even if everyone (read: carriers) gets scared and starts doing deals and focusing more on mobile content, ads and search it's a good thing for the industry and JumpTap. While the carriers might want everything to remain as it is for the indefinite future, it will not. The truth is: the iPhone and Android have done the overall market in the US a great service by waking people up and motivating them to act.

It is true that if Android is widely adopted and phones ultimately reach consumers, and are not locked by carriers, the monogamous relationship between user and carrier will be weakened. Any way you slice it, however, the carriers' collective position in the US is going to get weaker, with a growing emphasis on devices and mobile content.

One of the most interesting things that Ramer pointed out, which I hadn't focused on, is how Google Checkout might become the basis for a mobile payments system and direct billing relationship with the end user. I think that's a fascinating prospect.

Google Checkout has struggled to make inroads against PayPal, which is already offering mobile payments. But a second opportunity might come in mobile, provided Android gains market acceptance.

Competition from Google and Yahoo! is good for JumpTap's business and they can "sell against" the Google threat, which is clearly what the company is doing. And like everyone else, JumpTap could write on top of Android too.

The bigger challenge for JumpTap is differentiating itself from Medio Systems and vice versa.