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Ring! Ring! 22nd September 2008

In Today’s Issue: Symbian bashes mobile Linux; LiMo counterbashes; Cisco buys Jabber, threatens protocol switch; new Nokia E-series; iTrojan; building stuff for the BlackBerry; data roaming price war in Asia; Reding insists on open access to NGNs; Nortel exits optical Ethernet; EU telecoms packet in trouble; Vodafone+Vodacom; RIP Mobilink CFO

Department of “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”: Symbian claims there’s no hope for Linux on mobile devices, LiMo disagrees, and Google is accused of deliberately causing fragmentation to boost cross-platform and Web apps.

But perhaps there’s something in that. Here’s Cisco, buying Jabber, the open-source XMPP implementation that underlies some of the biggest IM networks and Telco 2.0 darling MXit. If Telco 2.0 is about anything, it’s about the collision of the telecoms and IT worlds, and this transaction shows the wind is blowing in favour of the IT crowd.

Cisco has been making dedicated enterprise VoIP switches and phones for years, based on SIP and using their media gateways to interconnect with either SIGTRAN or traditional SS7 voice. However, it’s a little remarked-on trend that XMPP is fast taking over from either IETF (or as we like to call it, “real”) SIP, or the version 3GPP came up with for IMS. After all, where’s the IMS support for XMPP?

Protocol warms might seem obscure, but as always in IT history, it’s the side with the best developer ecosystem that will win. We’re seeing the long, slow decline of the centrally-planned telco standards at everything above the hardware and link layer protocols.

Of course, a crude measure of developer interest is malware; the iPhone is facing a trojan attack this week, despite all the controls and requirements imposed by the AppStore. Whilst we’re on geeky subjects, here’s a walk through of the BlackBerry J2ME IDE.

There’s been a leak of two new Nokia E-Series devices. Something for your corporate Christmas stocking?

The long-expected data roaming price war kicked off in Asia, as Singaporean operators Starhub and M1 whipped each other with flat-rate tariffs for international data service. Another wave of pain appears to be heading for telco margins.

Viviane Reding is insisting on open access to fibre deployments, and the EU “telecom package” is under fire again.

Nortel is selling its optical Ethernet business, once the flagship of the company.

There’s still scope out in the emerging markets, right? Vodafone looks like it may snap up the rest of Vodacom while the financial markets are still exhausted from last week. Which is nice, except when you remember those MXit users frantically churning to the lowest low data prices to avoid spending any money on SMS.

Sadly, it seems that the CFO of Mobilink in Pakistan is missing after terrorists blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

Let’s all hope for happier news next week.

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