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Microsoft and Vodafone are to frame and promote mobile web service standards based around XML. The companies are prepping a technical roadmap and are seeking "industry engagement" for their PC to mobile web convergence play.

The roadmap will, they say, address the likes of "GSM-based security services with the Web services architecture, as well as exposing location, messaging and payment network services using the Web services architecture". If successful, the initiative will see developers incorporating mobile services, such as messaging, location billing and authentication, into PC applications.

Microsoft and Vodafone are running a series of technical workshops as part of their recruitment campaign. They intend to write a whitepaper too (more details here.)

As giants in their respective fields, the duo "expect that other companies will recognize the potential of Web services within the PC and mobile space and join this effort", they say in a joint statement. A nice touch the "that" in the "expect that". This softens the impact of the sentence from an order barked to eager anticipation.

Bill Gates was wheeled on to launch the pact today in a keynote at ITU Telecoms World 2003 in Geneva. So we suppose this should be a major announcement, as opposed to the minor extensions to the Windows fiefdom which are, so often, presented as major announcements.

In the world of Web Services standards everyone is supposed to be chums, although observers do insist on seeing two warring camps, incorporating IBM and Microsoft in one field faced off by Oracle and Sun in another.

Truth is, all the major protagonists are agin each other, jostling for position through whatever loose coalition makes best sense at the time. But in public, Microsoft, Sun et al are cordial, nay respectful, in navigating their causes through all those heavily mediated, wearisome Web Standards disputes. Can this last? Can it heck. One day, hot war will break out. This will be so much more fun for journalists, if few others. ®

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