• AT&T Acquires Plusmo to Help Apple Conquer the World

    Image via zandland.com

    Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. But with Apple and AT&T scooping up so many other businesses to ostensibly further their collective goals, it seems both companies are huddling like never before in order to continue making big plays together in the mobile realm.

    In addition to learning this week that Apple will likely face off with Google Maps after acquiring PlaceBase, a geolocation-savvy company that produces a maps API called Pushpin, AT&T is out with the news that the company has acquired Plusmo (a mobile app development platform and solutions firm) in hopes of furthering its mobile apps business.

    Caroline Gabriel at Rethink Wireless put it this way:

    Apple and AT&T are increasingly ranged together in the developing industry battle over the future face of the mobile web. Now both firms have made interesting acquisitions that could boost their bid to keep control of the web experience firmly in the traditional hands of the carrier and handset maker - as Google pushes the open browser-based model where the software company has the upper hand.
    The acquisition of Plusmo by AT&T will likely help decrease Apple's competition in several ways. Since Plusmo already has established successful relationships with multiple leading carriers, handset manufacturers and top publishers, its safe to say that AT&T will move Plusmo away from "business elsewhere" and put its newly acquired resources to work internally - both for the good of AT&T, but also Apple.

    See what I mean about "taking over the world"?

    As a long term investment, AT&T made a good call. If AT&T is really serious about building their business of mobile apps, the acquisition of Plusmo will probably yield a substantial revenue stream for a very long time to come.
    AT&T's acquisition of start-up Plusmo shows its seriousness about creating a differentiated software platform that will include its own unique applications and widgets. In particular, Plusmo will help it build widgets and apps that span cellphones, PCs and TV, a capability that fixed/mobile and quad play operators believe will help them to preserve differentiation and customer loyalty in future.
    In the short term, however, AT&T's focus on apps and widgets will only weigh further on the carrier's overstretched bandwidth. Consequently, all signs point to the need for a 4G network sooner rather than later. And knowing what AT&T and Apple have on the horizon via their mutual acquisitions this week, it seems that a 4G network (or at least an improved, expanded 3G network) will have to turn up on the radar in the very near future.
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