Cell phone operators join forces to battle Apple

Twenty-four of the world's largest cell phone operators have joined forces in an attempt to counter Apple's dominance in the app market. The announcement was made today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Twenty-four of the world's largest cell phone operators have joined forces in an attempt to counter Apple's dominance in the app market. The announcement was made today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The goal of the Wholesale Applications Community is to assist developers in taking their apps to as many handsets as possible, irrespective of the platform. Making up the consortium are big names such as Sprint, Vodafone and China Mobile. Between them, the operators have some 3 billion.

The reason for this consortium - cash. Apps are a lucrative business, and analysts such as Gartner say that spending is set to explode to $6.2 billion this year, with total downloads rising to 4.5 billion, from 2.5 billion last year.

It seems the problems facing developers is a simple (and old) one - too many platforms. The idea behind the consortium is to offer developers ways around this problem.

Will it work?

Well, consortiums like usually form when company feel threatened. Problem is that while companies feel that the consortium looks good on paper, problems develop because each member still wants to have the upper-hand over the competition, and this in-fighting usually weakens, and ultimately neuters, the consortium.

Another problem facing the consortium is that Apple isn't a sitting target and is unlikely to let the consortium out-maneuver it (not only that, but a company like Apple is likely to be much more nimble than a consortium).

That said, this is a good thing for users because it will encourage developers to make more apps available across a variety of platforms.

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