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3/2/2010
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LiMo Foundation Seeks Alliance With WAC

The mobile Linux trade group believes that a partnership with the Wholesale Applications Community will help open source gain a foothold in the mobile app market.

The LiMo Foundation wants to partner with the Wholesale Applications Community, as both mobile trade associations try to cut into Apple's overwhelming dominance of the mobile applications world.

In an open letter sent Tuesday, LiMo Foundation executive director Morgan Gillis said the mobile Linux platform group offers its "full support, our committed participation, and our immediate practical assistance" to WAC. Formed last month by 24 operators at the World Mobile Congress, WAC is an effort to build an open platform to deliver mobile phone apps. WAC's members, now numbering 27 mobile industry firms, serve some 3 billion mobile phone users.

Already holding the majority of the exploding mobile phone applications market via its iPhone App Store, Apple stands to continue to dominate the market, although Google's Android is expected to eventually challenge.

In his letter, Gillis said the "highly complementary areas of focus, shared belief in true openness, and common industry vision create an exceptional opportunity for deep and long-term collaboration between LiMo Foundation and the Wholesale Applications Community."

Gillis told the Reuters news service that the first response from WAC was "very warm."

Noting that WAC plans to use standards that are important in software development kits --JIL and OMTP BONDI-- Gillis said LiMo members have already produced standardized SDKs in both native and OMTP BONDI-compliant forms. In addition, key LiMo stakeholders are leaders in the JIL initiative.

With the majority of key players in the mobile industry involved in either LiMo or WAC, it may not be easy to form a tight alliance because of the fierce competition that exists among many of the players. Gillis, however, suggested LiMo's experience could help bring WAC members closer together by "structuring dialog" and "engaging interested vendors" as well as by helping to establish "legal entities in multiple jurisdictions." Gillis also said LiMo could help prepare the WAC roadmap.

Although smaller than WAC, LiMo is still an industry giant -- its 10 operator members represent about one billion subscribers. Gillis noted that the LiMo Foundation has more than 50 members ranging from components makers to carriers. To date 52 LiMo devices have been launched.

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