AT&T today announced the acquisition of a small, privately-held company called Plusmo, a provider of a mobile app development platform that enables deployment across multiple mobile hardware and software systems. Plusmo will become part of AT&T Interactive and is expected to be used across multiple AT&T subsidiaries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
I have to admit I had a "huh?" moment when I came across the news release. Maybe I've been living under a rock or something but I don't recall hearing anything about AT&T being in the mobile app business. In most instances, app development has been centered around the mobile operating systems - Apple's iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, Android and so on - not the carrier. (Yes, I know that Verizon is sort of in the app business with its VCast service and Sprint has some unique partnerships for NFL and Mobile TV apps.)
But, then I realized that AT&T is a big company with a lot of subsidiaries and this news doesn't necessarily mean that AT&T - the wireless carrier - is getting into the app business.
In its release, AT&T said the acquisition gives AT&T Interactive and other divisions the tools to advance development of their own apps - such as YPmobile, the mobile version of AT&T's Yellowpages.com web property.