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Boost Founder Now Focused on Building Bridges

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 8:15am
Monica Alleven

What is Peter Adderton up to these days? The founder of Boost Mobile and Amp'd Mobile, serial entrepreneur and helicopter pilot yesterday was officially deemed interim CEO of NeuMedia, a position that is expected to become permanent when NeuMedia closes its acquisition of Digital Turbine.

Since Amp'd, an MVNO that famously went out of business some years ago, Adderton has been busy, spending a couple years working on wireless and media strategies with senior management at Qualcomm, Best Buy and Clearwire. He also was chairman and CEO of Agency 3.0, originally a joint venture with the William Morris Agency.

Peter AddertonBut now he and his colleagues are on a mission to help carriers, device OEMs and media companies regain some of the control that has gone missing since the on-deck model went so fantastically off-deck, mainly into the hands of Apple and Google/Android.

Last week, Digital Turbine Group announced it would be integrating its user interface on the Samsung Galaxy Mini for Boost Mobile Australia. Digital Turbine's "Magnet," as it's called, goes beyond a Google search and finds and manages all kinds of content on smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy is based on Android, but Boost Mobile Australia plans on launching Magnet on various operating systems.

Magnet searches keywords on the Web page or browser and matches keywords with the content on a carrier's content management system, be it games, music, videos, and it serves those up to the end-user. For example, search for content around a famous musician, and it will bring up songs, ringtones, wallpapers, video.

It's kind of a hybrid between on deck and off deck, so the carrier isn't left completely out in the cold. One area that carriers still "own" is the billing system, and that's incorporated in the model, whereby new content can be billed to the end user's mobile phone bill.

But if a lot of OEMs end up incorporating the technology, doesn't that mean less differentiation? Adderton counters: What differentiation do OEMs now have with Android and what revenue streams are they getting? "We're not for everyone," he says, but adds that it provides a way for carriers and OEMs to get into the revenue stream even if they only put it on two or three devices in their line-up.

The company is in talks with carriers and OEMs for getting the technology on phones, and Adderton argues that he believes there isn't a tablet market yet – other than the iPad and its ecosystem. He's hoping that by showing how it works in Australia – which he does via a Skype video call for the purposes of this interview – that people can see how it works with a live production version.

Incidentally, he's also still a big believer in the Boost brand, which was acquired by Sprint Nextel, and in fact, prepaid brands like Boost might find the Digital Turbine technology of interest.

Adderton founded Boost Mobile in 2000 and remains a director and the largest shareholder of Boost Mobile Australia. Amp'd Mobile was founded in 2005 as an MVNO targeting youth, young professionals and early adopters; it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2007 and its assets were sold off at auction.

NeuMedia is in the process of acquiring Digital Turbine and yesterday said it has extended its previously announced letter of intent by 60 days, to Aug. 31, to finalize due diligence. The company says that with Digital Turbine, NeuMedia will have established a mobile services platform that reaches across more than 70 carriers in 30 countries and delivers more than 750 million ad impressions per month.

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