Verizon, Mozilla, SK Telecom And Others Join Mobile Linux Efforts; Enterprise Targeted
Wednesday, May 14, 2008; 5:00 PM
Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) confirmed today that it will support the Linux mobile-phone operating system, and join the LiMo Foundation as a core member, signaling its commitment to the platform. As part of the announcement, LiMo announced a list of other new supporters, including SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM), Infineon Technologies, Kvaleberg, Mozilla, Red Bend Software, Sagem Mobiles, and SFR. Releases.
Kyle Malady, Verizon's VP-network, said in a conference call this morning that Linux will be added to the platforms Verizon already supports, including Windows Mobile, Palm (NSDQ: PALM) and Brew. It does not preclude the No. 2 carrier from joining Google's (NSDQ: GOOG) Android platform in the future, Malady said. LiMo was chosen over Google's Open Handset Alliance because it already had handsets in the marketplace, and had a variety of members crossing all sections of the industry. "We anticipate that as we move down the path of Linux, we'll be looking at it as the OS of choice in handset lineup moving forward," he said. Verizon will first launch lower-end phones, and move up to smartphone and PDAs with the first phone expected in 2009. Verizon will encourage its handset partners to use the OS even if it is not a part of LiMo. Verizon, which will make a big financial commitment by hiring people, expects the open platform to lower development costs.
Verizon's commitment to LiMo should not be too much of a surprise given that its partial owner, Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), is a founding member; however, it's the largest commitment by any North American carrier. AT&T (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S) Nextel and T-Mobile have all come out in favor of Android.
Targeting Enterprise ZDNet UK writes that LiMo is in talks with a couple of major Linux distributors to bridge enterprise and mobile. "The principle area of interest [regarding these two companies] is evolving the software stack such that it's really fit for purpose as a mobile platform in the enterprise segment, and will support applications and services for enterprise which interoperate comfortably on mobile devices and desktop devices," said Gillis. "It's seamless enterprise computing, basically."
Ovum analyst Adam Leach is quoted as being surprised by this because the consumer space is seen as a bigger opportunity?but if a company sells Linux software to enterprises it makes sense they'd want to connect mobiles to that rather than targeting a whole new audience. Leach also said the latest announcement makes Android look bad: "After a good start and big fanfare, we've just seen prototype demos. It seems to me that they're not making the progress that we would expect."