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2/13/2007
05:28 PM
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Microsoft And BT Offer Prizes For Telecom Mashups

Call it Telco 2.0 as the two companies court developers interested in establishing the next phase in networked communications.

At the 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Barcelona this week, Microsoft and British Telecom announced a series of telecom service mashup competitions. The two companies are seeking applications that merge mobile phone services such as voice communication and text messaging with Internet applications like mapping and search.

The Connected Services Sandbox competition offers prizes ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 and will be managed by TopCoder, a company that administers online programming competitions.

Microsoft launched the Connected Services Sandbox in December 2006 as an online development community for independent software vendors, systems integrators, network equipment providers, and telecommunications service providers. To date, it has produced more than 50 registered services and mashups.

"We believe the Connected Services Sandbox will play a critical role in making Telco 2.0 a reality," said Michael O'Hara, general manager for the Communications Sector at Microsoft.

Freelance developers who register and Sandbox member organizations can review the competitions and rules online. The competitions consist of several usage scenarios defined by Microsoft and BT and typically require the combination of services like e-mail or document collaboration with Web services provided by the likes of Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

Microsoft plans to announce the winners at NXTcomm in Chicago this June 18-21, and to demonstrate the winning entry at its booth at the conference.

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