As I wrote yesterday:
Microsoft is playing catch-up to Apple and they could have potentially garnered more new mobile customers by allowing VoIP applications. When will the mobile phone software vendors get it that they should develop products that customers want to buy? Forget about ticking off the carriers. With SIM cards and prepaid cards that are industry-standard, Microsoft could bypass the carriers by allowing customers the "choice" of using VoIP over a pre-paid voice/data card and buying the phone online from Amazon or elsewhere. Screw the Verizon and AT&T retail stores that won't carry phones that support VoIP over 3G! Sure, most people don't use prepaid cards, however, technically savvy folks that want VoIP over a 3G data connection would kill to have a good smartphone that has this capability. Microsoft could build an avid/loyal core customer base, which would eventually force the carriers to respond.... when carriers like AT&T pull crap like forcing Apple to only allow VoIP over WiFi and not over a 3G data connection, it's no wonder why mobile VoIP growth will be stunted by anti-competitive tactics. Then you have countries like Canada which outright block Skype on the iPhone. Fortunately, avid mobile phone users aren't taking this lying down. For instance, you can jailbreak your iPhone and run VoIP over 3G no problem.
Why do we have to put up with this crippleware? I get that AT&T is a business and needs to make money. If they're worried that flat-rate data plans that run VoIP over it will drastically hurt their voice revenue, then change your business model! Keep the flat-rate data plan, but install packet-inspection technology that detects voice packets and charge a few cents for VoIP calls. If the flat-rate data plan's business model is outdated, which it seems to be, then change it.
It's time for one of the mobile software operating system creators - Apple, Google, or Microsoft to throw down the gauntlet and not kowtow to the carriers. Stop kneeling before Zod. C'mon Microsoft, you used to be Superman, invincible to all comers. Now you're playing it safe and being beat by the likes of Apple and Google. Where are you Superman?
Check out the full list of prohibited application types for Windows Marketplace for Mobile below. Listed at #4 is the blocking of VoIP apps. So no Skype on the Windows Zune phone for you! Even worse, you can't change the default browser, search client, or media player on the device. Nor can you customize the default dialer, a popular thing to do on current Windows Mobile devices. Way to go! That'll entice developers to develop software apps for your mobile operating system.
List of 12 banned apps:
1. Applications that are or distribute alternate marketplaces for content types (applications, games, themes etc.) that are sold or otherwise distributed through Windows® Marketplace for Mobile.
2. Applications that link to, incent users to download, or otherwise promote alternate marketplaces for content types that are sold or otherwise distributed through Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
3. Applications that promote or link users to a website, or contain functionality within the application itself, which encourages or requires the user to purchase or pay to upgrade the application outside of Windows® Marketplace for Mobile.
4. Applications that enable VoIP (Voice over IP) services over a mobile operator network.
5. Applications that sell, link to, or otherwise promote mobile voice plans.
6. Applications that display advertising that does not meet the Microsoft Advertising Creative
Acceptance Policy Guide http://advertising.microsoft.com/creative-specs.
7. Applications that replace, remove or modify the default dialer, SMS, or MMS interface.
8. Applications that change the default browser, search client, or media player on the device.
9. Applications with an OTA (over the air) download >10 MB.
10. Applications that run code outside Microsoft runtimes (native, managed, and widgets)
11. Applications that publish a user's location information to any other person without first having received the user's express permission (opt-in) to do so, and that do not provide the user a means of opting out of having their location information published.
12. Applications that publish a user's data from their mobile device to any other person without first having received the user's express permission (opt-in) to do so, and that do not provide the user a means of opting out of having their data published. A "user's data" includes, without limit, contacts, photos, SMS or other text communication, browsing history, location information, and other data either stored on the mobile device or stored in the "cloud" but accessible from the
They put at the bottom of this list, "Microsoft reserves the right to update these policies as needed to protect the Windows® Marketplace for Mobile service or the users of the service." Yeah, sure. "protect the users of the service" alright.