Although some applications have garnered great consumer interest, not one has succeeded in dragging the industry out of its doldrums. Part of the problem may be that designers have confined their projects too much to their own industry segments. A true market boost may require a crossover between different users and product areas. To that end, Microsoft Corp. and Vodafone have teamed up to simultaneously target the PC and mobile markets.
The two companies plan to aid in the creation of mobile Web-services standards. Ideally, those standards will enable new business opportunities for both application developers and mobile network operators. They also will deliver new integrated services for customers across wired and wireless networks.
Using an existing, industry-standard, Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based Web-services architecture, the Mobile Web services will expose the broadest audience of developers to mobile network services. Those developers will be able to access and integrate services like messaging, location, authentication, and billing into their applications. The companies' efforts also should help to expand the developers' commercial opportunities. They'll be able to further promote their applications while enabling solutions that work across PC and mobile environments.
Meanwhile, customers will be able to enjoy using mobile Web services from multiple devices on both wired and wireless networks. By using mobile Web services, developers should be able to create more compelling user experiences. PC-based applications will be able to take advantage of services that were formerly reserved for mobile devices, such as mobile messaging. Mobile network operators can even extend their businesses by making their network services available to the broadest audience of developers and software users.
Microsoft and Vodafone hope that other companies will recognize the potential of Web services within the personal-computing and mobile space and join this effort. More information can be found at www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/mobilewebservices and www.vodafone.com.