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Two Dozen Carriers Worldwide Unite Against Apple’s App Store

Two dozen of the world’s largest mobile-phone companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T (NYSE: T), NTT DoCoMo (NYSE: DCM), Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT), China Mobile and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), are teaming up to create an “open international applications platform,” which is obviously in direct response to Apple’s success with its own iPhone App Store. Release.

The announcement was made this morning at Mobile World Congress. In addition to the 24 carriers, the GSMA and three device manufacturers — LG (SEO: 066570), Samsung and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) — are also supporting the initiative. All combined, the group reaches 3 billion subscribers worldwide, making it easily the largest app-store initiative. However, the task will also be exceedingly complicated because of the massive scope and technological barriers in uniting so many disparate platforms and operators.

Called the the “Wholesale Applications Community,” it aims to create a wholesale platform for mobile apps that provides a single point-of-entry for developers. In other words, it wants to solve the massive fragmentation problem. The group intends on using common open standards that will allow developers to create apps across multiple platforms. Those standards include JIL, which Verizon, Vodafone and China Mobile have been working on, and OMTP BONDI. Those two standards are expected to evolve into a common standard within the next year. Ultimately, they pledge to work with the W3C standards bodies to create one solution for developers to create apps and port them across mobile device platforms and operators.

The full list of operators are: America Movil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, mobilkom Austria, MTN Group, NTT Docomo, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica (NYSE: TEF), Telenor, TeliaSonera, SingTel, SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM), Sprint (NYSE: S), VimpelCom and WIND. The four operators in the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) mobile apps initiative

24 Responses to “Two Dozen Carriers Worldwide Unite Against Apple’s App Store”

  1. As great an announcement it sounds… it will fizzle into despair…
    What they are actually worried about is simply them as carriers drifting toward becoming nothing more than conduits rather than content providers and loosing income.
    The bandwidth is growing and they aren’t capitalizing on that opportunity.
    They are too late!

  2. I agree with most of the comments here that this will be basically a JOKE! I imagine Apple is having quite a nice laugh at all these companies who see that their role in the future of smart phones going the way of the dinosaur! Cell phones are becoming PDA’s and most of these companies who only sell cell phones will be as relevant as typewriter companies were before the PC revolution. Finally, the one big reason the app store is so successful is that the hardware and software works the same on all the iPhones and most of the iPod Touches. These groups will NEVER agree on a common screen size or a speed of the processor. So anybody who thinks this is anything more than a p*ss in the ocean, I have some typewriter stock to sell you!

  3. Between Apple, Google and Palm, what real advantage do consumers get? Apple has set the standard for value by allowing developers to earn based on volume and by eliminating much of what many developers are bad at… dealing with people. Does this mean that developers will pay less to publish apps, get more than 70% of the selling price? Will users be offered better variety and lower prices than Android and the App store? Let’s see.

  4. @Ed Dunn,
    Mobile app developers who want to make money will stick to the iPhone & iPad. Those who do it for free and enjoy solving problems (true hackers) will look at it, but they already have Andoid & Palm-OS to play with.

    Apple’s 30/70% split is better than other app markets that came before it. Better than what Amazon is asking content providers to pay. You can hate them, but they’re a very effective cash machine for developers and content creators.

  5. 1) If they use Java, they are toast. The iPhone SDK is based of C/Objective-C which runs really fast and supports complex 3D games. Java cannot compete with this.

    2) They must use an existing free development platform like Eclipse. Apple provide world-class development tools (Xcode + Interface Builder) for FREE.

    So, from the start, this alliance has a lot of work to do to attract developers.

  6. All of these comments are great – for someone who obviously does not develop mobile apps or understand the market.

    This is great news as mobile apps developers who have to deal with a fragmented market. Symbian this, Nokia Developer that, Sprint Developer program this, T-mobile Developer program that, Windows Developer and so on….

    It is already bad enough with the Premium SMS fragmented market but the non-iPhone mobile app world need serious infrastructure if they want to attract serious developers .

  7. MobileAppDeveloper

    Those US carriers need to open Java APIs. The reason why they failed to attract users is because they restricted those Java APIs which kills the innovation and themselves.

    Hey, VZW, ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile … wake up and learn from Apple. If you keep controlling APIs then you don’t have open platform to attract developers! Let it go! Open your Java “Restricted APIs” today to developers today then your problem will be solved in a month.

    Otherwise, your so call new “Open Standard” will only end up to recycle bins and killing some trees with no purpose.

  8. Aynd Rand

    Give me the developer friendly Apple monopoly any day compared to this motley crew of C-level carrier fools and tools. No one cares anymore about their $10K developer programs, WAP decks and other F($NG nonsense? Too late chumps. Apple read the tealeaves and now they have become the fancy of the legions of creative, ambitious developers.

  9. I’m sure when the announcement was made there were cheers all around. Execs were slapping each other high five and saying to each other, “Watch out Steve Jobs.” And then as soon as everything calmed down, they all said to themselves, “Oh shit.”

    I wrote a piece about this already entitled “Mobile application platform: Can two dozen work better than one?” Read:

  10. Shaden Freude

    You’re kidding me right?

    So, America Movil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, mobilkom Austria, MTN Group, NTT Docomo, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, SingTel, SK Telecom, Sprint, VimpelCom,WIND, Vodafone, China Mobile, SoftBank, Verizon, LG, Samsung and Sony-Ericsson are all going to get in a room together and come up with a seamless application platform???

    This is a joke right? Right???

    Could someone invite me the project kick-off meeting…I gotta see this.

  11. good luck with that guys. Given the past record of most of the carriers in terms of collaboration and standards sharing in the consumers best interest, Id give this a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding