Verizon touts platform collaboration amid mobile OS war

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Verizon touts platform collaboration amid mobile OS war

The mobile industry needs to settle on a few open, interoperable operating systems for application development to mature, according to Verizon Wireless CEO Ivan Seidenberg.

Speaking at the CTIA Wireless Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Seidenberg revealed the telco's plans to join the international collaboration, Joint Innovation Lab (JIL).

JIL was established in April 2008 by China Mobile, Softbank and Vodafone.

It aims to create a single, global platform for mobile widget developers.

To explain the need for the collaborative effort, Seidenberg compared mobile application development with the PC software industry.

"If you think about the PC world, it's only when the industry coalesced around a few operating systems that software development really took off," he said.

"Similarly, we need an open, interoperable environment for mobile application development to grow."

While Microsoft, Apple and certain Linux distributions are clear leaders in the PC operating systems arena, the jury is still out on mobile platforms.

According to a Gartner report on smartphone market share, Nokia's Symbian accounted for 47.1 percent of the market in Q4 2008.

RIM's Blackberry platform, Microsoft Windows Mobile, Mac OS X and Linux accounted for 19.5, 12.4, 10.7 and 8.4 percent market share respectively.

Gartner research director Roberta Cozza predicted that "In 2009, mobile platforms will be a major battleground as the associated user experience and role of the ecosystem grow in importance."

Meanwhile, vendors are battling to attract and retain consumers and developers with the launch of device-specific online application storefronts.

Apple's App Store has enabled independent application developers to quickly and easily take their creations to market since its launch in July 2008.

RIM launched a similar offering. Named ‘Blackberry App World', the portal provides a new distribution channel to application developers in North America and the U.K.

Nokia also has announced plans to launch its own mobile application storefront, Ovi Store, in May, estimating a userbase of 300 million consumers by 2012.

"This is a tremendously fertile moment for the mobile industry," Seidenberg concluded.

"Customer satisfaction is on the rise, innovation is thriving, and a new business model is emerging," he said.

"The next 25 years is going to be even better."


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