Faced with the power and attractiveness of GAFA, Swisscom tries but does not succeed

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It’s a fail. Another failure for Swisscom against the American technology giants. This week, the Swiss operator announced the end of its DocSafe service, an online document storage and management system. Overwhelmed by American solutions from Dropbox, Google and Microsoft, this Swiss service is not the only one to have been a disappointment for Swisscom. Its iO messaging app was killed by WhatsApp in 2017.

At 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, Swisscom announced its termination by e-mail to Docsafe users. “Unfortunately, the solution did not take hold on the market. This is why we regret having to inform you that we will withdraw Docsafe on March 31, 2021 ”, wrote the operator. Users can save and transfer their documents, which will then be deleted. Swisscom launched this service in June 2014, with great ambitions. The operator wanted to offer an online management system for its documents, especially related to payments (but not photos). The company observed that a Swiss household received on average more than 200 documents each year, such as: invoices, payslips, contracts or tax receipts.

Proposed migration

The argument for a centralized management system with files hosted in Switzerland was not successful. And Swiss consumers have not seen the usefulness of this system – despite the data storage in Switzerland. They also probably prefer to use American solutions for their online files – Microsoft, Dropbox, Google or Amazon all offer such offers in complete ecosystems. Companies, such as credit card issuers, industrial services or insurance, may not have wanted to collaborate with Docsafe either. When contacted, the operator did not provide information on this subject.

Today, Swisscom encourages its customers to use its MyCloud storage service, which can back up all types of files, such as photos. The operator offers 10 GB of storage space free of charge for all, and is more generous with its customers, and even more with those who agree to pay a supplement. Swisscom does not communicate any figures on this subject, it is difficult to say whether these offers are of interest to many Swiss consumers.

Read also: Swisscom iO is good

The previous iO

This failure is similar to that of iO messaging. In 2013, Swisscom launched a smartphone app for sending messages, sharing photos and making calls, all over the internet. WhatsApp is already well established, but the Swiss operator is trying its luck, highlighting the “Swissness” of its app, and the possibility, also, of bypassing roaming charges. But in 2017, the operator disconnects iO, which has not found its audience.

Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, head of digital activities at Swisscom, then made a bitter observation: in 2013, he said, “for most private customers, data retention in Switzerland was not yet an argument for transferring their communication to another platform ”.

Watch out for the video

These two failures reveal several things. First, that a large number of Swiss consumers do not necessarily favor a Swiss service provider for their data or communications, and that using Google or Microsoft systems suits the vast majority of them. Then, that the question of timing is very important. If Docsafe had launched earlier, if iO had launched later, maybe they would have been successful. Because Swiss solutions can break through: today we can see the success of the Swiss paid app Threema, which takes advantage of the case of transferring data from WhatsApp to Facebook. We can also see the success of ProtonMail messaging and Infomaniak’s cloud services.

Countering the tech giants is very difficult, as the experiences of Swisscom show. But it is not impossible. And today, the operator must pay attention to one thing: that the streaming offers of American giants, such as Netflix, do not come to compete too strongly with its own Blue TV video offers …