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Microsoft: IMS is not for walled gardens

Speaking at the IMS World Forum 2.0 in Monte Carlo on Tuesday, Microsoft Communications Sector architect, Sam Christie, strongly criticised carriers hoping to maintain a walled-garden with IMS.

“Maybe France Telecom is big enough to get all their content for cash payments and fill a walled garden,” he said, responding to Olivier Martel, France Telecom’s head of standards and technology.

“But I suspect the industry has moved beyond that,” Christie said. “I hope that if my kids want to do a new telecoms app, they will be able to just download the tools from MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network] and do it.”

Christie cited the speed and accessibility of common web development methods, arguing that even the most optimistic IMS plans fall a long way short.

“You can get a satnav unit that will tell you where the nearest gas station is,” he said. “But when is it going to tell me which one has the cheapest gas? The challenge for IMS is to make it as simple to do that as it is for the average guy to mash it up on a web page.”

Arguing that carriers must learn how to make money from services that do not carry their own brands, Christie compared the future telco to major supermarket chains such as Tesco and WalMart. “Carriers must get like Tesco or WalMart – they are the golden bit-pipe, the goods on the shelves don’t all have to have their brands, but they make money on each one.

“If you leave this meeting with anything, make it this – what is your plan to support developers of applications and content? If you don’t know what you are doing to make them more successful than with your competitors, you’re on the way to being a bit-pipe,” Christie said.

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