Light Reading

Microsoft Gives Telefónica an Apps Edge

Ray Le Maistre
LR Mobile News Analysis
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief
3/28/2011
50%
50%

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has teamed up with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to offer 6 million .NET applications developers what they believe is an easy and affordable route to the international operator's mobile customer base. (See Telefonica, Microsoft Team Up.)

The partnership, if successful, could create a de facto model for operator/developer relationships as all parties in the chain -- Telefónica, Microsoft, the developers and the mobile customers -- stand to gain in some way. And it's clear, from developers that attended a press conference in London this morning, that the model proposed by Telefónica and Microsoft is a significant improvement on previous efforts from the telecom sector.

Here's how it works. Telefónica's BlueVia unit provides .NET developers with a software development kit (SDK) optimized for use with Microsoft’s Visual Studio development environment and the software giant's Azure cloud services platform. That SDK includes application programming interfaces (APIs) to Telefónica's network resources (currently its messaging platforms). This allows developers to build applications that utilize the mobile giant's network capabilities, as Telefónica outlined in February when it unveiled its BlueVia initiative. (See Telefonica Shows Developers the Money .)

For its part, Microsoft provides .NET development support and, if an application is accepted by Telefónica, hosts the application on its Azure cloud services platform for a recurring entry-level fee that grows only if the applications becomes successful and requires more capacity and support. Microsoft also provides additional support for developers targeting Windows Mobile-based devices and other Microsoft platforms, such as the Xbox, though the applications can be developed for use on multiple mobile device platforms.

For the developers, life is made as simple and easy as possible, with the prospect of recurring revenues if an application becomes successful. There are no up-front costs to use the BlueVia SDK; Instead the two parties forge a revenue-sharing deal that results in the developer taking, for example, 10 percent of any messaging-related revenues generated by the use of the service.

So as a service becomes more popular, Telefónica and the developer both see their revenues grow. Microsoft also benefits from popular services, as while the cost to the developer for being hosted on Microsoft's Azure cloud services platform starts at a low entry point, it grows as an application becomes more popular and requires more capacity to meet demand.

The idea is to encourage developers to create new services that utilize Telefónica's network capabilities, rather than developing a one-time application that is paid for and downloaded once. By building an application that, for example, makes use of the operator's text messaging platform -- such as the secure, location-based taxi-booking service in London called Taxistop -- revenues for both the operator and developer grow each time the application is used.

To date, the perception of telcos by the developers has been "very negative," noted the head of BlueVia José Valles, because the developers have been treated as potential sources of revenue (through charges for use of SDKs). This model, he said, is different, as it treats developers as partners for new revenue growth.

Currently, applications developed through this partnership can be offered by Telefónica's mobile operations in Spain, the U.K., Mexico and Argentina, covering about 80 million mobile subscribers in total. By the end of the year, the BlueVia team, which built its SDK and exposes its network assets using a service delivery platform developed with Huawei, aims to have extended that to Telefónica's nine largest markets that serve more than 200 million mobile users.

Of course, any applications developed will be available only to Telefónica customers, therefore making it a limited market. And the benefits of this partnership are targeted specifically at .NET developers. Microsoft says it's prepared to host applications developed using other platforms such as Java, though this sounded more like lip service than an olive branch.

Why this matters
Despite its limitations, the basis of this partnership could prove groundbreaking in the ongoing development of relationships between mobile operators and application developers.

According to developers that have already made use of the BlueVia and Microsoft assets, Telefónica is leading the way in terms of providing an attractive environment for the applications community, because it's not demanding money up front for access to its network resource APIs. In addition, this model provides the potential for recurring revenues rather than one-time payments for application downloads.

For Telefónica it provides extended access to the developer community and the opportunity to cultivate a reputation as a company that's looking to work with and help developers rather than exploit them. And if the model works, it could lead to data service growth and customer "stickiness."

For Microsoft it's an opportunity to get even closer to Telefónica and to further develop its Azure platform in terms of use and revenues. It's also an opportunity to enhance its reputation among the telecom operator community. BlueVia's Valles told Light Reading that Microsoft's Communications Sector team had been "very easy to work with. It has changed. Microsoft has lost the arrogance it used to have."

And for the mobile market in general it may point the way toward a model that can help operators engage more quickly with developers following years of frustration.

For more
Operators have been trying to figure out how to broker a meaningful relationship with applications developers for some time.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
digits
50%
50%
digits,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:17 PM
re: Microsoft Gives Telefónica an Apps Edge


A comment worth remembering... even if it does only pertain to Microsoft's Communications Sector.

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
LRTV Interviews
DT's Virtualization Vision for Europe

3|4|15   |   10:23   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks virtualization, cloudification and standards with Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE's Wireline at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks with Jane Chen, ZTE's Senior VP of Wireline Business, about innovations in her product line at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dick Chen of ZTE USA gives Light Reading an overview of what's new at ZTE's pavilion at Mobile World Congress 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson CEO Talks Telco Data Center Tech

3|4|15   |   05:45   |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg discusses telco data center technology, business models, small cells and more.
Between the CEOs
EXCLUSIVE: Cisco's Chambers on Reinvention

3|3|15   |   8:24   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
LRTV Documentaries
The Three Cs of MWC15

3|2|15   |   2:33   |   (1) comment


My visit to this year's Mobile World Congress is going to dominated by three Cs – cloud, cells and coffee.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
New CenturyLink CTO in Major Overhaul
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/4/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.