You all know the buzzwords. Say them with me. SaaS. PaaS. IaaS. Well, MTN just thought up two more of their own. BaaS and DaaS. Pretty acronyms for business as a service and desktop as a service.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfiA3g2IxU4]

Curious about what these two genius products are? Then please watch the video. But as far as I can tell, they’re just really yellow-looking Dropbox and Google Apps clones.

If buzzwords were all it took, we’d have to concede that MTN has now become a full-fledged web and cloud services company, with a strong enterprise component and a keen focus on SMEs. And over the past few months, they’ve amassed the product arsenal to prove it. They’ve got BaaS for cloud data backup, and DaaS for desktop and productivity applications, WebPlus for websites, ePresence for video conferencing, cloud ERP to manage staff…the works.

The head-scratcher for me here is that there’s already globally renowned services like Dropbox, Google Apps/Skydrive/Box, Weebly/Tumblr/Wordpress, Skype, Salesforce and more that already do all this stuff. And often for free.

MTN-Banner (1)

Does MTN really intend to take all these people on? They’ve burnt one or two bridges on their way here (backing out of Google’s GNBO to do their own web hosting offering), so it would seem that way. They might have a local advantage in Nigeria, and Africa, but in the web and cloud space, just how much of an advantage is local? As far as competing goes, quality and price will be the biggest battlefields on which they’ll have to fight. One can only assume that they know what they’ve gotten themselves into.

For every step MTN takes into the future however, it’s less of a competitive imperative. Darwinian forces are at work here, and all must adapt to survive. Data is killing voice. The telcos know it and are reacting in different interesting ways (hello, Airtel WhatsApp collabo?). While some people are plotting to block Skype, MTN is quietly mutating, attempting as seamless a transition as it can manage, into the provider of data enabled products for the next generation of consumers.

Will it work?

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