Today, Verizon Wireless opened up its cell phone network with the announcement of an “Any Apps, Any Device” initiative and Microsoft voiced its support via Senior Vice President of the Mobile Communications Business Pieter Knook:
“Microsoft is very excited to see Verizon Wireless make such a bold move to satisfy the demands of wireless consumers. As people’s mobile needs become more sophisticated and varied, they will require smarter and more adaptable mobile devices. We are proud to support any open access that puts more power in people’s hands to connect them to the information they want when and where they want it.”
Most everyone supports motherhood and apple pie, but the devil is in the details and specifically what Verizon is proposing is:
Taken at face value this looks like Verizon Wireless wants to become merely a wireless data pipe provider which is so completely out of character that the punditry is all abuzz with theories as to what they really up to. Two possibilities:
Frankly, these both seem to me to be rather thin rationales so the jury is still out on what is going on. As for Microsoft, they had nothing to lose by jumping onboard and even a left handed slap at Google’s open source handset alliance will make them feel warmer over in Windows Mobile.
Update 11/29: There seems to be even less here than meets the eye. Erik Schonfeld reports that Verizon’s “Open” Network Will Really Be Two-Tiered in that you can either sign up for a traditional Verizon plan and use the phones and apps Verizon provides or you can go second tier with third party phones and apps. This sounds more and more like a plan to introduce data transfer billing.