Who were the winners and losers at MWC 2011?

Sue Marek
When it comes to wireless conferences, the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, was a winner this year. The GSMA trade group, which produces the event, reported a 20 percent increase in attendance over the 2010 event, with more than 60,000 visitors from 200 countries.  

According to the association, 51 percent of 2011 MWC attendees held C-level positions and more than 3,000 were CEOs.

The reason for the uptick was two-fold: First, the economy seems to be in recovery, prompting more companies to send representatives to the annual conference; second, the conference saw a significant increase in the number of developers at its popular App Planet co-located event. GSMA said there were more than 14,000 developers attending MWC this year--that's more than double the number who attended the event last year, and more than the GSMA anticipated. When I spoke with Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer of the GSMA, prior to MWC, he said the association was hoping to attract about 10,000 developers.

What was the big winner at MWC this year?App Planet certainly is growing in popularity. The GSMA said visits to the event topped 45,000. This year the conference not only included several different app developer events hosted by such companies as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Samsung, but also for the first time included Macworld Mobile, a developer event targeted at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS developers.

The GSMA also appeared successful in its strategy to have both morning and evening keynote addresses. For the first time, the association had three evening keynotes over the span of two evenings. Those addresses were from Eric Schmidt, the chairman and CEO of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), as well as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Twitter's Dick Costolo. Each keynote was well attended and appeared to keep attendees on the show floor and in the session hall into the early evening.

Fierce's editorial team was out in full force in Barcelona last week and we covered all the major events from the 2011 Mobile World Congress. You can check out all of our coverage at our dedicated MWCLive mini site.

On the long trip home, we had time to contemplate some of the themes of the show and what they mean to the industry. Clearly, some companies and technologies emerged stronger than ever. Likewise, some failed to get their message across. The Fierce team compiled a scorecard of the companies and technologies that we think emerged as the winners and losers at last week's confab.

Check out our MWC Scorecard:

  • Content and applications
  • Handsets
  • Infrastructure
  • Services

And make sure to let us know what you think. --Sue