Where Now For Vodafone’s Internet Strategy, As Knook Leaves?

Vodafone’s internet chief is leaving after the company put the brakes on its online mobile services strategy, FT reports.

Seventeen-year Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) veteran Pieter Knook joined in 2008 to direct a new internet services group in Vodafone.

The paper says his departure comes “after important aspects of the operation were scrapped” – namely, because Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) has stopped selling flagship Samsung handsets that bore the gubbins for its Vodafone 360 services suite and because Vodafone in March closed Wayfinder, the nav company it earlier bought for £22 million.

In truth, Vodafone 360 was always destined to end up on multiple handsets, not just the Samsungs. It’s now available on HTC, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsoon, iPhone, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and BlackBerry.

But that fact illustrates the problem – each of those, and now Samsung itself, is now rapidly competing in the game of app stores and own-brand content offerings.

Could Vodafone realistically now hope to find a place for Vodafone 360 on iPhone, for example, when the dominance of Apple’s own app store on that handset is clear to see? Vodafone 360 appears to be proving that networks may be better suited as pipes than as services.

FT: “Vodafone said on Monday that Mr Knook had decided to leave. It added that its Vodafone 360 services and strategy