Competitors to cooperate on app development

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Competitors to cooperate on app development

The country’s top telecommunications companies will launch an integrated developer center in an effort to compete in the mobile app store business dominated by Google and Apple.

With a new platform dubbed the “one store project” due to open next month, app developers won’t need to produce separate versions of applications for each store.

The three companies - SK Planet, an affiliate of SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ - also will merge their developer centers.

“If we have a combined platform, that will be in developers’ interests,” said a source from one of the companies, who requested anonymity. “Developers can have a holistic view of their app’s performance and have better control of app publishing. Now, developers come with different versions for the three app stores because they all have their own regulations and rules.”

The three companies will jointly oversee app rankings and reviews, with SK Planet expected to take the lead role.

Under the umbrella development center, the three companies also will offer a unified payment system for app downloads and share the same digital rights management.

The three players jointly sent the changed rules to developers on Tuesday, notifying them that the new platform will go into effect next month.

“We will have a seminar next month to explain how the new system works,” said a representative of SK Planet. “Then, we will have a trial run for a month, given that it is always tricky to adopt new terms and rules.”

Other telecommunications and electronics companies and major local players have tried to gain an edge over Google and Apple.

Back in 2010, global mobile carriers announced they had agreed to work jointly toward opening the Wholesale Application Community (WAC), dubbed Super App Store. The system was expected to link mobile application developers to nearly two-thirds of mobile phone subscribers around the world as their potential customer base.

KT and LG Electronics showcased WAC 2.0-based mobile phones during the four-day Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the system didn’t take off in the face of stiff competition from Apple and Google.

“It is true that local companies failed to beat the global tech giants, but if we continue to integrate systems and share data, we can better compete with them,” said the source.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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