AT&T CEO Wants Apps To Run On Many Devices

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – AT&T Inc.’s CEO Randall Stephenson, on Tuesday expressed frustration with the way applications are sold to smart phone users, saying customers should be able to buy an application once and have it work across many different devices.

As an alternative to today’s most popular application stores, controlled by Silicon Valley heavyweights Apple Inc. and Google Inc., Stephenson touted an emerging system that lets carriers like AT&T sells apps directly to users.

AT&T Inc. was until last week the sole U.S. carrier for the iPhone, which sells apps that run only on Apple devices.

“You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” Stephenson said in a keynote speech at the world’s largest mobile-phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.”

Stephenson highlighted a new standard for Web software, HTML 5, which will allow applications to run on different devices, and the Wholesale Applications Community, which is an “app store” set up by carriers as a counterweight to app stores run by

The Wholesale Applications Community, or WAC, announced its commercial launch Monday. From the point of view of software developers, it acts as one app store. The apps are then sold by a variety of different phone companies around the world, in stores that carry their own brands.

There are as yet few phones that support WAC applications, but LG Electronics Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. have committed to making such phones.

The four biggest U.S. wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA — are all members of WAC. Verizon Wireless started selling the iPhone in the U.S. last week.

Carriers have sold simple applications like games directly to users for a long time, but it’s a small business compared to Apple Inc.’s App Store and copycats like Google’s Android Market.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Jonathon says:

    That is STUPID! That would be like me buying Word on my PC and if i went out and bought a mac expect to have it free on my Mac….. If you change phones TO BAD!! All iOS devices you can share the same app.. you dont have to re-buy…. too bad so sad!

    1. Anthony Madrid says:

      Well, why shouldn’t you have that set up? Do you like paying more money to have the same exact thing? Personally I think this is a great idea, and should actually increase sales because people are more likely to by something if they think they can use it in more than one place, even if they don’t really do so.

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