Mercora Goes Mobile

Mercora, one of the place shifting companies I have written in the past is going mobile. To remind you all, Mercora is a peer-to-peer radio network which lets you share playlists of music on your hard drives with a certain set of friends, or listeners. The company calls it IM Radio. Mercora has just launched a new software that will allow consumers who have Windows Mobile devices to listen to the music from their own hard drives, and from their IM playlists.
There is free and paid version of the service. With this, Srivats Sampath, CEO of Mercora, says they are taking the battle directly to the satellite users. (Remember, the satellite guys have just started to stream their music channels on the web, so this is more like tit for tat!) That they are doing it, doesn’t surprise me. Orb’s service (review pending!) already lets you listen to your disk-based music, but Mercora takes the concept of “playlist” sharing to another level.
There is just one problem with this model: carriers.
Given that this really threatens their business model and insatiable greed (aka selling songs at $2.99 a pop), how long do you think before the wireless operators shut the service down. Sampath, says that he is taking the model to the carriers, and hopefully they will see that they are cheaper and more interactive than radio. He does acknowledge that carriers can shut them down fast, but he points out that this doesn’t disrupt their ‘sales’ model. He was quick to point out that more and more devices are coming with wifi, and most offices have wifi so it can bypass the cellular networks. Another problem – the frail state of our wireless networks. Unless you are on Verizon EVDO, you are basically reduced to using IxRTT or GPRS networks. Remember Windows Mobile devices can’t support EDGE for now. “I tested it with GPRS/T-Mobile and it works great,” says Sampath. I will try it and update you folks tomorrow.