Microsoft captures early momentum of Verizon's "open" wireless network

Fascinating news today with two parallel announcements. First, Verizon announces their Open Development Initiative to allow others to create products outside of Verizon's own retail offerings that can operate on their network. That's an exciting first and I think a strategically savvy move on Verizon's part. Here's a little bit from the Verizon press release:

In early 2008, the company will publish the technical standards the development community will need to design products to interface with the Verizon Wireless network. Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network.

Next, Microsoft announces their support for the Verizon Open Development Initiative. Pieter Knook of Microsoft didn't exactly say what "support" means (the word support actually only appeared generally in the press release, but didn't say anything about what that means) and Microsoft's press release was basically just a vague statement by Knook.

Here's Microsoft's chance to get the jump on the Apple iPhone and everyone else. If I were Microsoft, I'd be giving out Windows Mobile 6 software developer kits to anyone who could spell m-o-b-i-l-e or looked like the might have a cell phone in one of their hands. Create a special offering to help mobile device and software companies to rapidly get their products approved on Verizon's network. Build support into Vista so any Microsoft Vista user could take advantage of Verizon's broadband network.

I throw out these ideas not because Apple will be the first mover on the opportunity with Verizon's network. Linux will. Linux based platforms will very likely be the first movers in this case, because people can and want to beat Microsoft to the punch. That is unless what Microsoft isn't telling us is that they are working with Verizon on the technical standards to be issued in 2008. That would give Microsoft a distinct advantage and time to get a program of some type together. Possible but there's no way to know if this is the case right now. My bet's still on Linux for the time being.

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