China Mobile is staking out its own ground in the mobile-application marketplace.
According to IDG News Service, the world's largest wireless carrier plans to introduce its own mobile-application store later this year, calling it "Mobile Market." The report says the store will be open to both independent developers and companies, though it's not clear what operating system or platform technologies will be used by the phones running on China Mobile's network when the store is ready to go.
China Mobile's plans for Mobile Market illustrate the difficulties that it and Apple faced in trying to reach an agreement to sell the iPhone through China Mobile. The two companies have flirted for quite some time, but Apple's insistence on being the sole gatekeeper and distributor for iPhone applications would have been at odds with China Mobile's desire to offer its own service, which is why Apple is believed to be negotiating with China Unicom instead.
Apple's approach is rare in the nascent mobile-application world: many other makers of mobile operating systems are trying to find a way to let carriers such as China Mobile in on the action while maintaining their own central roles. With about 415 million subscribers, China Mobile's customers will be an attractive target for handset companies and software developers.