MS and Vodafone in Standards Link-Up
By Carlo Longino, Mon Oct 13 14:15:00 GMT 2003

Giants Microsoft and Vodafone announced today at ITU World Telecom in Geneva they'll work together to develop and promote XML-based mobile Web standards.

The idea seems to be to foster the development of mobile applications by extending Web services to the mobile realm, but also exposing certain mobile elements -- like mobile messaging, location-based services, and billing and authentication -- to Web applications.

Not quite sure what to make of this? Neither are we, though El Reg seems to have a pretty good take on it. What at first glance appeared to be two industry titans aligning themselves for a battle to the death upon closer inspection doesn't look so damning.

Vodafone still as recently as July said it has no plans to use MS-powered devices, and just a month before that, they picked RealNetworks' software for their streaming media services over Microsoft's. The two companies have worked together before -- in September 2000 they said they'd work together to deliver mobile access to Outlook, which appeared to culminate with the June 2001 release of Vodafone OfficeLive, which used Microsoft's Mobile Information Server in conjuction with Exchange, though it also worked with Lotus Notes systems.

But this is the second major Web services standards news from the company in as many months, making us a bit more curious (and suspicious). Just a few weeks ago, Bill Gates appeared on stage at a conference with an IBM exec for the first time in 12 years to demonstrate progress they'd made on Web services specs they've been working on. It must have been a big deal, as not only was an IBM VP there on stage, but a Linux box was too...