Ring! Ring! Hot News, 6th April 2009

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In Today's Issue: AT&T Apps - seems to be a Web site; VZW joins JIL, launches app store; links voice and maps; Palm WebOS SDK out; Apple lawyers pursue illegal app stores through undergrowth; IMS widgets (we kid you not); VZW plans LTE build; big Euro WiMAX build nixed says source; Cisco's routers drive the backhaul; the Universal Backhoe strikes in London; snoopery D-day; Swedes squash piracy; Spotify API coming; monsters of tech batting for Skype; Qwest may swap long distance for RLECs; Freedom2Connect summaries; cable guys open-source STB code; Sky's new EPG; PCCW buyout back on; NTT buys marketers; Eurovendors still got it, part 3, Pakistan; G-servers on show; mobile phone orchestra

AT&T launches AT&T Apps; it's described as "a place for power users and content providers to engage in dialog about applications and services", and all the apps are free, so we think that means it's a Web site. There's a lot of app store action this week - Verizon Wireless has just joined the Joint Innovation Lab, alongside Vodafone, China Mobile and Softbank. The future, it seems, is made of JavaScript. How did that happen? Apparently, Vodafone wants to eventually converge the technical aspects of JIL with the OMTP's BONDI standardisation project, which is all good.

On the commercial level, VZW just put up a sign and opened its own app store. They're also doing interesting things integrating voice command and maps.

Palm, meanwhile, announced that the WebOS SDK will be available to a lucky few developers forthwith; but where, where are the gadgets? Apple, it seems, has lost patience after we went from unauthorised iPhone applications to whole unauthorised iPhone app stores; the Cupertino Copyright Commandos are fanning out, writs in hand. And someone is selling IMS widgets, we kid you not.

Verizon's decision to go for LTE was the official end of the standards wars. Now they're planning for a future in the post-war era; stand by for those boring old Eurovendors to get another round of business. A Telco 2.0 source said this weekend a major European telco had cancelled its activities in WiMAX with a major Asian vendor, and would instead be basing its wireless broadband plans on LTE.

VZW will need a lot of backhaul for that...which is probably why they're buying a lot of Cisco ASR9000 Carrier Ethernet boxes to go with their new CRS-1 core routers. The Internet may route around damage, meanwhile, but when you lose an entire BT exchange in the City of London that's harder than you think. It's the Universal Backhoe and it's the one to blame...

UK communications data retention comes into force today; perhaps the Government can achieve a triumph like that in Sweden, where traffic through the Netnod IX fell sharply after anti-piracy legislation went in force. Hey, they've already managed to achieve a sharp cut in industrial production and economic growth! There's a nightmarishly awful House of Lords debate on the issue here. Legal music streamer Spotify, meanwhile, announced that it plans to launch an API to its content.

In the row between Skype and assorted mobile operators, notably Deutsche Telekom and AT&T, Skype called in air support from Big Tech; Google, Microsoft, and Intel among others are partners in something called the "Voice on the Net Coalition", whose lobbyists rolled into action in line with Skype.

Qwest, owner of many rural ILECs? It's being suggested that the telco might sell its long-distance assets (those famous railroad RoWs) in exchange for clearance to consolidate a lot of the US's small telcos. Presumably a bid for broadband funding from the NTIA would follow. Speaking of rural fibre in the US, there are summaries of proceedings at F2C on David Isenberg's blog.

The cablecos' geek farm, CableLabs, has published the source code that implements its standard for interactive TV set top boxes. In other TV news, Sky has upgraded its Electronic Program Guide for HD.

Richard Li's effort to take PCCW private is back on, it seems; NTT DoCoMo, meanwhile, has short-circuited the question of how telcos can get better at advertising and just bought a direct marketing firm. China Mobile's Pakistani operation, Zong, has picked Alcatel-Lucent for a network build.

Google shows off its homebrew servers in a rare glimpse at their hardware. And finally, the Stanford University Mobile Phone Orchestra, via Masood Mortazavi's blog: