Q&A: Orange's devices chief Francois Mahieu

Orange's director of devices lays out the company's strategy and explains how his firm is handling iPhone fever.

If you're asking if you can get your hands on this now for day-to-day business, the answer is no. But, will they shortly be able to? The answer is yes. We are doing a number of trials with Manchester City Football Club on NFC technology and we're running a number of trials in France too. It's a very promising technology. The mobile phone is one of these tools we all know we could make better use of like a Swiss knife. And there is immense benefit in [carrying] one device in the grand scheme of things. But the [challenge] we see is that we need to reach a level of standardisation in the industry. Standardisation is the key.

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How important are partnerships to Orange's business offering mix? Last year, for example, you teamed up with Microsoft for Business Together with Microsoft' and you've been working with the likes of Asus and HP on mobile broadband.

What I really like about working in the business environment is that you never stand alone. You always have partnerships.

So why do you think customers work with Orange rather than another company then?

There are many reasons. In this country we have 25 per cent market share in the business area so one in four companies small or large works with Orange. We are a very serious and credible partner now.

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Orange has clearly evolved to be more than just a mobile operator but what are the common misconceptions people still have about you?

There will always be people who call us a mobile phone company. The reality is that, as a brand, we have evolved over time. We've moved from being a consumer only brand. We started a real push into the business space with a campaign in 2003 and gained roughly seven per cent market share as a result.

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Seven or eight years ago people thought Orange was very consumer centric. This [misconception] has gone completely and we're very proud. But, when it comes to the broadband space, for example, today we're a big player but we're not number one. We face challenges to find ways to be as powerful as the number one and to become an equally as loved brand [when it comes to broadband].

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