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    WAC launch still on track


    Executives claimed today that the Wholsale Applications Community has made quick progress over the 22 weeks since it launched, and remains on track to meet its key deadlines. The most important deadine of all is commercial launch at Mobile World Congress 2011, and today’s news made it a little clearer what that might look like.

    Back in May 2010 acting CEO Tim Raby said that WAC would come to market in July with clear business model.

    Mobile Europe reported then:
    Raby also wants to see “business models announced for participating companies” developed by July. This would include a “very clear vision about what hurdles [members need to] jump through so they can look at costs, what they get in terms of revenue share, tax positions etc.” said Raby. Raby said “early members of WAC are looking at the way we enable app monetization… at various different recurring revenue models that we can use, including the way operator assets can be used in an innovative form.”

    Today, WAC announced that developers would deal on an operator by operator basis on revenue share agreements. WAC would help that discussion, Raby said, allowing developers to select territories and stores they want to publish to, but individual details would be worked out between operators and developers.

    There wasn’t much more detail on how other operator assets can be delivered, although Raby did say that as well as the GSMA led OneAPI project, which seeks to define common network APIs, JIL also contains some network APIs and they could be incorporated into WAC. He told Mobile Europe that there would be more to announce on this in the October/November timeline. A key aspect will be to define a common API to the billing mechanism, which will allow in-app billing for developers.

    The overall vision of WAC remains unchanged. Those behind it want it to act as a platform of tested, certified apps that can be accessed by the widest possible range of devices running the widest range of OS, including some feature phones.

    Raby also confirmed that WAC remains committed to commercial launch  by Mobile World Congress 2011 – which means it will have a completed platform, to be called WAC 1.0 ready by then. With the SDK to be distributed to developers in November 2010, and WAC 1.0-compliant handsets not available till May 2011 at the earliest, and Q4 2011 in bulk, “commercial launch” may be an extendable term.

    It seems likely that the MWC launch will see a wholesale app store populated by apps that already exist on the JIL platform (8,000 apps from 9,000 registered developers), with of course some new apps. There will also probably be some operator retail front ends selling WAC apps, and a handset base of existing JIL and BONDI-complaint handsets. WAC will be backwards compatible to JIL and BONDI.

    Michael O’Hara, CMO of the GSMA, said that the body, which will act as a wholesale repository of tested, certified apps, said, “We have absolutely not stepped away from the timeline. We said we would communicate when we have done, and we are on track to do this.”

    With Peters Suh being named the new CEO, and JIL joining WAC, Mobile Europe asked after Raby’s role.

    O’Hara said, “Tim has been a very strong leader, while Peters has been appointed as the CEO going forward. Tim will have a key role, we expect them to work through that together and make an announcement in the future.”

    NOTE: OMTP closed down on June 30th this year and WAC came in to existence on 1st July. BONDI then  transferred into WAC. Other elements of OMTP transferred in to the GSMA and elsewhere.