Last updated: August 4, 2008 - 9:38am
Consumers have long been frustrated with how much control carriers — AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and the like — have exerted over what they could download to their mobile phones. But in the last nine months, carriers, software developers and cellphone makers have embraced a new attitude of openness toward consumers. The industry, of course, has selfish reasons for promoting openness. Applications spur the use of higher-priced wireless data plans and the purchase of more expensive smartphones. "What is most important for us is to have a customer sign up for a plan," said Ralph de la Vega, who is in charge of AT&T's wireless unit. "We think we can have multiple ways to make money." Silicon Valley's venture capitalists are already salivating over the enthusiasm for cellphone applications. Their investments in this category rose 90 percent in the first half of 2008, to $383 million, from the second half of 2007.
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