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October 24, 2007

CTIA: Facebook tells wireless world, open up!

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 10:13 AM

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz encouraged the wireless industry to open up their networks to third-party development.

Speaking at CTIA today, he said the pressure is on because Apple will be opening up its mobile phone in February to outside developers and Google is expected to make an open play next year by either releasing a new phone or participating in a spectrum auction.

A company that currently develops a mobile application has to be approved by each wireless network in order to be offered on a phone, rather than simply being installed by the end user.

Quoting Moskovitz:

There are a lot of good reasons why the state of the industry is why it is. I don't want to stand up here and tell you about your industry, but I've been working with everyone in the ecosystem over the last four years.

The mobile operating system and hardware layers are locked down, and Smartphones are pushing the boundaries, but we still have a long way to go. There's reasons why it looks like this today, but I want to talk about how crucial it is for this to change.

He said thousands of developers are waiting to build for mobile.

Moskovitz also invited RIM's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis on stage to announce a Facebook application for the BlackBerry that is fully integrated into the phone. If users take a photo and the application has been installed, the phone will ask whether the user wants o text that photo, e-mail it, or send it to Facebook (without even launching the application). The person can even tag the photo.

The BlackBerry application, being launched today, will first be available on T-Mobile USA's network.

It is interesting that Facebook's first application was built with BlackBerry, a business device. However, when Moskovitz started off his presentation, he asked the crowd how many people were Facebook users. More than half raised their hands. He said the business segment is one of the fastest growing areas for Facebook.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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