European carrier Telefónica joined forces with Microsoft on Monday, in a bid to improve its relationship with the developer community. José Valles, head of Telefónica’s BlueVia developer programme, openly admitted that operators had not had the best relationship with developers in the past before proclaiming that all that is about to change.
“Telcos used to see developers as demanding,” Valles said. “The kind of words they use to describe us [carriers] are: slow, bureaucratic, arrogant and greedy. Developers were not seen as a source of revenue.”
Valles acknowledged the harsh reality that drove developers into the arms of Apple and Android and the respective app stores that have since become a real threat to the carrier business model.
Through a partnership with Microsoft, which knows a thing or two about developers, Telefónica will seek to readdress that balance and win the developer community over. The deal essentially opens up Telefónica’s BlueVia platform to Microsoft’s six million strong developer community on the .Net framework – think Silverlight, Visual Studio and Azure. It expands app development opportunities across a range of platforms, including mobile devices, PC and games consoles like the Xbox, combining networks, software and services for the benefit of the developers.
BlueVia, which launched in February, builds on Telefónica’s existing developer programmes, O2 Litmus in the UK, Open MovilForum in Spain, Movistar Developers Platform in Mexico and Plataforma do Desenvolvedores Vivo in Brazil, offering up a collection of APIs allowing engineers to hook into network services.
Knut Aasrud, general manager of Microsoft Communications Services was enthusiastic about the partnership because: “Telefónica is the only carrier catering to the developer community today. It’s unique.” That said, he told telecoms.com that the deal is not in any way exclusive.
The partnership seemed to strike a chord with the handful of developers on hand for the launch as well. This is probably because the favoured app store revenue share model means that developers shouldn’t have to worry about up front costs to get access to network APIs. Instead, developers get between ten and 20 per cent of revenues from SMS transactions and mobile advertising as well as retaining 70 per cent of application sales and subscription revenues. One of the big draws of the model is reoccurring revenues. Also, Telefónica handles all the billing on the developer’s behalf.
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