Operators to discuss joint mobile OS initiative

The CEO of France Telecom, Stephane Richard, has invited his counterparts from Vodafone, Telefonica O2 and T-Mobile to a meeting next month to discuss the joint development of common platforms for mobile devices.

According to Richard, the outcome could take many forms, such as a JV or the formation of a common apps development unit. However, the CEO's determination was apparent with him telling reporters from Le Figaro that current mobile operating systems were the Trojan horse used by Apple and Google to establish a loyal customer base.

"We aim to retake the reins of innovation, rather than be followers," declared Richard.

While initial discussions will not take place until the 8th of October in Paris, the more obvious options include following the example of China Mobile, which has developed a customised version of Android tailored to support its products and services--which would appeal to the growing Android app developer community.

Adopting Symbian is also a possibility given its independence and existing wide scale acceptance--aided by the considerable weight of Nokia. Limo is a further possibility, although Vodafone's struggle to persuade vendors to develop attractive handsets might count against it.

Regardless of the outcome, the involvement of Europe's four largest operators in these joint discussions could be the first example where they use the collective weight of nearly one billion subscribers to meaningfully influence the future direction they wish to take.

For more on this story:
- read ZdNet & Le Figaro (sub req)

Related stories:
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France Telecom feels the pinch: Both revenues and profits down
Vodafone cans its 360 handsets; focus now on synch and cloud services
Gartner Says Android to Become No. 2 Worldwide Mobile Operating System in 2010 and Challenge Symbian for No. 1 Position by 2014

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