Steve Zimba is definitely a refresh for Microsoft's communication sector. I've just red an interview with him at Telco2.0 where he is discussing the Telecom transformation. The bottom line – everybody knows the story, everybody is sure about the business development scenarios but no one is really going there. Why is that? Steve only says it's not in their DNA - even repeats this couple of times. I liked the guy, since throughout the whole interview one can sense the disillusionment and very often his bitterness about big telecoms not acting promptly to Microsoft offerings. Very sincere actually, it seemed that he forgot about MSFT marketing.
Something similar I was claiming in my SDP dilemma post. Even those telcos that tried to act as third party content and services retailers do not find it easy to generate expected revenues in these activities. They've invested in technology but still waiting for returns.
Almost every VAS vendor is pitching the same marketing story but not really offering the adequate value proposition. Every major telecom has a business model transformation idea deeply built into its strategy but I am not sure that there are many really executing upon this strategy.
He is 100% right in one thing - greenfield operators should prove us whether all of this convergent media, content distribution, ICT solutions and telecom as retailers models are really working or not. If they would be sucessful, than many established businesses will be in danger. Big telecoms would immediatley start removing the obstacles preventing them to enter this game. The biggest obstacle is their current operational framework. It is not designed for services long tail but rather for delivering bestseller services (voice and pure broadband).
The whole industry is not waiting for a next big thing, but rather for a next big operator than can show us the big shift in practice.