Microsoft woos mobile operators
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October 14, 2003
Microsoft wants to use .Net to provide PC services through mobile
networks, and hopes that mobile operators can be persuaded to buy in if they
see that it can make money.
Speaking at ITU Telecom World 2003, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and
Vodafone chief executive Ian Maxwell unveiled work on a new standard to
deliver data services through mobiles.
The companies want developers to integrate mobile network services such as messaging, location, authentication and billing into their applications.
But Keiji Tachikawa, president and chief executive of Japanese mobile
operator NTT DoCoMo, insisted that Microsoft had to learn from its past
failures to persuade operators to adopt a proprietary approach.
NTT DoCoMo rejected Microsoft's Passport authentication technology
because the software giant had not been prepared to make it an open
standard. But Tachikawa has left the door open on this initiative.
"We do understand that Microsoft is making it clear that it will be
entering the mobile business. As long as it keeps its standards open we will
be interested in utilising its technology," he said.
Analysts believe that operators will climb onboard if Vodafone can make
the model work.
Steve Brazier, president and chief executive at analyst Canalys, told
vnunet.com: "Operators are desperate to drive data revenues and have finally
recognised that most of these revenues will come from the enterprise.
"They are desperate to prove that they have a role to play in the data space other than providing bandwidth." Gartner analyst Nigel Deighton added: "Mobile operators are strong in micro-payments, authentication and roaming. "It is not that great a leap to see Microsoft using this technology to charge for software on a per usage basis."