Feb 10

Apps of the world, unite

The Mobile World Congress met in Barcelona this week. Think of it as the United Nations of mobile technology companies — with about as much ability to influence world events as the real United Nations.

The biggest deal coming out of the 2010 Congress was “App Planet.” The idea was to lay out a vision for unified standards that would make life better for developers and customers. The official website says: By pulling all the key players together in one place at one time, we will make App Planet the new Centre of the Apps Universe for the four days of Mobile World Congress.

Only problem: key player #1 — Apple — did not attend the conference. So it seems that the real point of Planet Of The Apps was to do collectively what no one has been able to do alone: create a credible challenge to Apple’s world-leading app platform. If nothing else, it allowed 200 companies to take some time off from brutalizing each other in the normal course of business.

Given the importance of App Planet to this gathering, it surprised many when Steve Jobs was named recipient of the Congress’s Mobile Personality of the Year Award. Yes, the same Steve Jobs who will never in a million years support the global app standards being developed by this brotherly group. I guess they just like his personality.

It’s not like they didn’t have the chance to honor one of their own. The nominees beaten by Steve Jobs were the bigshots of the planetary app movement: Eric Schmidt (CEO, Google), Mike Lazaridis (co-CEO, Research In Motion) and Pete Chou (CEO, HTC). Apple sent no one to collect the award, indicating their respect for this particular honor.

I really don’t have anything against technology companies banding together to move things forward. I just think it’s safe to say that if any of the participating companies were in Apple’s position today, they’d be as far away from this Congress as possible — even if it meant not being on hand to pick up the Mobile Personality of the Year award.

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  • There are some parallels here with the summit in Copenhagen. Just saying.

  • Perhaps, but I imagine Google – who are often market leaders – would be likely to embrace open standards, as they’ve often done. Apple becoming an even more jealous guard of proprietary stuff is only going to drive people away and undermine their image as the “not evil one” of the two big companies.

  • Mark Lillywhite

    In what areas are Google market leaders? Apart from search and advertising, that is.

    They’re not a leader in phones; they’re not a leader in online apps (Salesforce would be my bet); they’re not a leader in mail (iPhone’s mail app, for example, has a greater market share than gmail)… perhaps Google Maps is a market leader?

    And I just don’t see how Apple can be accused of being “a jealous guard of proprietary stuff”. For the vast majority of users, Apple’s stuff is just as “free” as Google’s – and far more free than Microsoft’s. Apple gives away a lot of it’s software and tools as open source, just like Google does. But somehow Google is the saviour of the Internet while Apple is trying to lock it up. It’s just word games. For example, is the openness of Linux’ source code more important than the openness of UNIX accreditation?

    Anyway – as I understand it, Google is happy to use open source tricks to it’s own advantage. The Nexus One was shipped with software that wasn’t available to it’s partners yet. If you were Motorola, you wouldn’t be too happy about that.

    Perhaps when Google gives away the source code for Docs, GMail or AdWords then we could say that they’re “more open” than Apple. Until then, all this talk of “freedom” is just hyperbole which doesn’t stand a great deal of scrutiny.

  • from this on Hitwise.com:


    in their playing field (search), their at 72% … that’s enough to keep a lot of investors interested with their reach, and the depth of that reach, into consumers …

    it’s selling at $540 while apple is at $201, and while apple has a better volume in trades, the number of investors is greatly in googles favor, so people are watching other factors than how they handle their apps …

    globally, more people are on g-mail than iMail as well … topping out at over 170M, apple, not so much due to having been less than warmly embraced by the business community …