Microsoft and BT have launched a mashup competition, offering prizes of up to $25,000 (£12,700) to the winning developers.
The companies are looking for entries that combine today's internet and telecoms applications to create something new and useful. The competition will be part of Microsoft's Connected Services Sandbox — an environment where developers can create and test new mashups — which launched two months ago.
Mashups are applications that take data from several web services to create a new offering. They were one of the hot topics of 2006, on the back of the excitement of Web 2.0.
BT hopes the competition could help it deliver unified offerings to small-business customers.
Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business, said: "With the Sandbox environment, we have the ability to see new services created and developed from concept to market. We anticipate that the Sandbox competitions will provide us with compelling business opportunities that we can ultimately deliver to our customers." Murphy said that one target would be unified communications solutions for companies of up to 10 employees.
Within their mashup, developers can consider applications such as voice, email, instant messaging and document collaboration with web services such as Windows Live and the services of eBay, Google and Amazon, among others.
Winning developers will be rewarded with either a financial prize or what the companies call a "non-monetary promotional program". They will be announced at a Chicago trade show in June this year. More information is available here.