Showdown with Apple over standards could be looming

Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), which includes some of the world’s largest wireless operators (AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone) and manufacturers (LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson), announced in February that it has formed an alliance to challenge Apple’s mobile application market.  The announcement was made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  WAC members have created an open platform that would allow developers to reach customers worldwide.

Mediapost reports that WAC’s goal is to unite the apps market. A wholesale platform would create a single point of entry for developers, which is exactly what a company like Apple would contest. Apple did not attend the Mobile World Congress’ Conference last month.  The aim would be for smaller and larger developers to become essentially one large, united community for the mobile operating systems, carriers and others.

Creating the alliance would require a set of common open standards that would allow developers to create apps for different platforms.  Doing so would likely utilize standards that some mobile carriers have already started to adopt, such as JIL and Bondi. Those would eventually merge into one common standard.

Although the goal is to create a platform, the alliance also appears to be challenging Apple and its App Store.  Even before the alliance, major U.S. carriers such as AT&T and Verizon, as well as large tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, launched their own app stores.  Apple still holds a large advantage, which seems to be the ultimate driving force behind teaming up: to close the gap with Apple by luring developers away with  the opportunity to reach many more customers through a common, global platform.

The alliance’s goal is easier said than done.  Putting aside the difficult task of creating and integrating a common app platform and standard for different carriers, there is still the equally difficult task of developing mobile content, which only Apple has successfully done up to this point.

Thus, the market is there, but will these companies be able to put everything together to compete with Apple?  Apple could decide that the new standard violates its apps development standards. Therefore, another question must be asked: could the alliance lead to a marketing or legal showdown with Apple?

About 

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

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