[the times] Twenty-four of the world's biggest mobile operators, including Vodafone, Orange and O2, have teamed up to take on Apple's domination of the mobile applications market after forming an alliance to establish an open platform for developers to reach some 3 billion customers.
The initiative, known as the Wholesale Applications Community, is the most coordinated attempt yet by operators to take a larger slice of the mobile applications market. Despite previous attempts by the likes of Nokia and Vodafone to tempt consumers to pay to download content and services, it took the launch of the Apple iPhone to crack the market open.
Apple, which for years defined itself in opposition to the more powerful Microsoft, is itself the strongest player in the applications sector with 130,000 products on offer. It is a lucrative business, too, with the Californian company taking a 30 per cent cut on every application sold. Over 3 billion applications have been downloaded through its store, although many of those are free.
Rivals such as Palm, Google and Microsoft have already moved to tap into the applications market but the network operators have now moved to reach out to the developers directly. The new initiative, announced at this year's Mobile World Congress, has been signed by 24 network operators around the world which have a combined customer base of around 3 billion, a tantalising prospect for application developers looking for the widest possible audience for their product.
Mobile companies unite to take on Apple's mighty app store