Tech giant Microsoft is taking another crack at the mobile services market, with an initiative to deliver applications to vertical industries via carrier partnerships.

On Wednesday, the Redmond Giant unveiled its Connected Services Accelerator Program – a collaboration with independent software vendors (ISVs), developers and operators.

The first project will see Microsoft collaborate with Singaporean operator SingTel to deliver mobile applications for vertical industries via Windows Mobile-based devices and Windows Vista-enabled mobile broadband PCs.

Such applications include the collection of patient data in healthcare, telemetry and fleet management, real time financial services, equipment and property management, and utilities management.

To qualify for the initiative, developers and ISVs must have annual revenues not exceeding $20m and must not be owned by a publicly traded company or subsidiary, or mobile operator. Microsoft said all proposals will be evaluated according to a set of criteria that includes market potential, scalability, ease of use, ease of deployment, customer demand and originality.

“Our mission for the industry is to drive the transition to Telco 2.0, a new era of communications where service providers are delivering hundreds if not thousands of new services,” said Martha Bejar, corporate vice president for the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “Building on our investments in the Sandbox development environment, the Connected Services Accelerator Program aims to build a truly global marketplace for service creation that, working with operators, will lead to the commercialization of a new wave of innovative services. We are working with SingTel on the first project, which has a mobile focus to tap into the huge potential we see for applications delivered to mobile devices including mobile-broadband PCs.”