By Keith Dyer at 3GSM World Congress
OpenWave has one version or another of its software in half a billion mobile phones. MSN has 140 million hotmail users and 110 instant messenger users. Put them together and what have you (potentially) got?
The two vendors have announced that MSN services will now be available in a mobile version on all phones equipped with the OpenWave’s version 7 software. This announcement is different, OpenWave director of product management Brian Dally told Mobile Europe, because previously such value added data services were seen as the preserve of the smartphone. This brings mass data services onto mid-market feature phones.
“For the first time we are breaking the trade off between efficiency of implementation and ubiquity by having fantastic user applications – but on volume handsets,” he said.
Phil Holden, the director of MSN International Subscriptions, said, “Our core focus is on trying to merge the PC world and the mobile world and this OpenWave client gives us a smarter and more intelligent experience. Only the v7 software gives us the breadth of reach at the level of the feature phone.”
Holden stressed that the OpenWave partnership was not exclusive for Microsoft. “Generically we are trying to support as many platforms as operators require,” he said. Dally said the deal was an example of the functionality of the v7 software. “Handset manufacturers are faced with a variety of demands. v7 lets them add applications as needed and MSN is an example of that customization.”
The MSN Hotmail and IM mobile protocol clients will need to be pre-installed on v7 enabled phones. There are no announced operators or handset vendors as yet who are working with MSN and OpenWave on this implementation. Dally said the announcement was the start of the process.