Microsoft chairman Bill Gates will today detail a partnership with mobile operator Vodafone to develop mobile web services standards.
The standards are designed to allow PC developers to incorporate location and micro-payment functions into their applications.
Gates will tell delegates at the ITU Telecom World conference that application developers will start to release beta programmes in the first quarter of next year that will allow cross pollination of mobile and fixed applications.
Through developing mobile web services standards the vendors expect developers to incorporate features of cell phone technology into PC applications.
One example would be enabling PC applications to send text messages from email clients.
"This will open up the opportunity to create a whole new type of application," said John Maffie, group product manager at Microsoft.
By using some of the underlying technologies that enable mobile phone calls, application developers will be able to include features such as pinpointing locations in programs.
For example, roadside assistance companies could link stranded motorists with their nearest service engineer from within a call centre application.
The announcement has drawn criticism from analysts, concerned that the firms are hijacking work already underway on mobile web services. Both the Open Mobile Alliance and the Parlay Group are currently working on mobile web services standards.
"They're using their weight to try and dominate standards development. It would have had more credibility if they had sought industry endorsement before making the announcement," said Neil Macehiter, research director at analyst firm Ovum.
Microsoft and Vodafone insisted that the mobile web services standards will not be proprietary and will be put before a standards body, although they are yet to name which one.
"It is not about creating something that is operating system or carrier dependent," said Paul Davey, group strategic relations executive at Vodafone.
"We want developers to be able to incorporate functionality from both the mobile and PC worlds, which to date have been seen as entirely separate."
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