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AOL Launches Open Mobile Platform

Developers are expected to share ad revenue with AOL by displaying in their applications advertising supplied by the Web portal.
AOL on Monday introduced a mobile phone development platform that the company plans to make available to developers in the summer.

The Open Mobile Platform, unveiled at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, comprises tools and source code needed to build and distribute applications across operating systems, including BREW, Java, Linux, Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS, and Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

Specifically, the AOL platform consists of three components, an XML-based markup language, an ultra-lightweight mobile device client, and an application server, AOL, a unit of Time Warner, said. In addition, applications built with the platform can be integrated with third-party application programming interfaces, as well as with AOL's APIs for instant messaging, Web mail, online video, maps, and other services.

Developers also would be able to share ad revenue with AOL by displaying in their applications advertising supplied by the Web portal. Such ads would include clickable banner ads.

AOL expects to release the Open Mobile Platform this summer. More details are available on AOL's developer site.

AOL continues to lag in the online advertising business, despite major investments by Time Warner. While its U.S. ad revenue in 2007 rose 18% from 2006, the increase was less than the overall online ad market, which increased by 21% to $19.97 billion, according to JupiterResearch.

AOL parent Time Warner last week said it would separate AOL's subscriber-losing dialup business, a move that analysts said could lead to a sale or spin off into a separate company.

AOL subscribers have left in droves as the company dropped most subscription fees in favor of ad-supported services on the Web portal. AOL's revenue dropped 33% in the fourth quarter of 2007, due to a 52% decrease in subscription revenue. The decline was offset in part by the increase in ad revenue.

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