THE WRAP: Mobile gets the platform blues

Robert Clark
19 Feb 2010

This week the mobile industry went to Barcelona and got tangled up in platforms.

Microsoft scrapped its OS platform and announced another, the Windows Phone 7.

Nokia and Intel promised to merge their two Linux platforms – Maemo and Moblin – into a third, Meego.

A BBC exec complained about having to support 21 versions of iPlayer and called for an end the “madness”. Telstra CTO Hugh Bradlow counseled fellow operators to accept it and profit from it.

Google chief Eric Schmidt tried to woo his critics in the industry, but that didn’t stop Vodafone boss Vittorio Collao from complaining that its dominance in search was bad for operators.

Verizon hooked up with Skype to offer mobile VoIP – Skype’s first with a wireless carrier, and the GSMA voted for OneVoice as its standard for voice over LTE, dispatching the rival VoLGA group.

There was plenty of advice at Barcelona - Bharti CEO-designate Sanjay Kapoor said cellcos should try to become lifestyle companies, and AlcaLu boss Ben Verwaayen urged them to become “society-centric” - while experts predicted a hyper-connected world of digital wallets, smart shoes and clever cars.

Elsewhere, Bharti’s stock dived after it said it would buy most of Zain’s African and Middle East telco assets for $10.7 billion. It said later it would pay just $9 billion net.

Confusion reigned over Unicom’s role in the privatization of Nigerian carrier Nitel. The company denied that it had joined a group offering to pay $2.5 billion, but the head of the consortium insisted it had.

Kodak asked the US International Trade Commission to block imports of RIM and Apple products, claiming that they breached its camera patents. The US FCC offered a plan to take 100 Mbps broadband to 100 million homes.

Apple offered a $10,000 iTunes gift card as a prize for its 10 billionth song download, expected in the next week.

Walter Isaacson, a former Time managing editor, will write a biography of Steve Jobs with the cooperation of the Apple chief.

The average user of games on social networking sites is a 43-year-old woman, a survey found.

Singles flocked to the new Twitter-based dating site, Flitter.

And Barbie is now also a computer engineer – her 125th profession.

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