Microsoft, BT launch mashup contest

Developers are challenged to create new applications by combining telecommunications and Web tools. Top winner will take $25,000.
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor
Microsoft and BT have launched a mashup competition, offering prizes of up to $25,000 to the winning developers.

The companies are looking for entries that combine today's Internet and telecommunications 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, riding on the back of the excitement surrounding Web 2.0.

"With the Sandbox environment, we have the ability to see new services created and developed from concept to market," said Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business. "We anticipate that the Sandbox competitions will provide us with compelling business opportunities that we can ultimately deliver to our customers."

Murphy said one target will be unified communications solutions for companies of up to 10 employees.

Within their mashup, developers can consider applications such as voice, e-mail, instant messaging and document collaboration with Web services such as Windows Live, as well as the services of eBay, Google and Amazon.com, among others.

Winning developers will be rewarded with either a financial prize or what the companies call a "nonmonetary promotional program." They will be announced at a Chicago trade show in June.

Richard Thurston of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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