Feeds

Wouldbe Apple App Store killer WAC disappears into GSMA

The Once and Future best hope of the networks

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Wholesale Applications Community has been voluntarily subsumed by the GSMA, selling off its technology and giving up its independence. The app store which never was will now never be.

The technology owned by the WAC, a platform-independent JavaScript-based runtime and a billing API with hooks into various network operators, goes to Apigee who already host services for the GSMA - so developers can continue to use them. Overcall control of the WAC goes to the GSMA and the organisation which once hoped to take on Apple ceases to exist as an independent entity.

Back in 2010 the WAC was established to provide an application platform, and an app store, under the control of the network operators. The organisation was formed from the Vodafone/China Mobile Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) and the OMTP's BONDI project, and had the public backing of all the significant network operators as well as the handset manufacturers necessary to make it happen.

But that public backing wasn't reflected in investment of resources or money, and infighting has dogged the organisation since its formation as intensely-political telcom executives replaced the engineers who'd set up the OMTP*, and the JIL, with the intention of creating a technical solution to a business problem.

Despite proudly showing a working clock on a Samsung Bada handset the WAC runtime was never widely adopted, so the focus changed to provide APIs for interacting with the hosting network, primarily the billing system, using the GSMAs JSON-based OneAPI.

That approach gained some support: operators already deploying the OneAPI could add WAC support with minimal effort, enabling mobile applications of all kinds (from web sites to native apps) to trigger billing events with the network operator. The WAC provided a pretty interface for developers, while the GSMA ensured the back ends all worked together.

But that also left the WAC thinner than ever, so thin that it has now vanished entirely. The GSMA is making noises about "an exciting new opportunity" and "accelerat[ing] the mobile applications market", but it's hard to see how the GSMA is going to attract the developers the WAC failed to seduce.

The WAC's APIs are being used, if not in large numbers, and the existing platforms will be maintained for the foreseeable future so there's no immediate change. But if in a year or two the WAC quietly disappears beneath the folds of the GSMA it's unlikely many people will notice, or mourn its passing. ®

*Your correspondent was one of those engineers, though titled an executive at the time.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE
Just need to bring the fibre box within 19m ...
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.