Verizon to Dial Up App Store, Partnership at Developer Conference

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-07-21

Verizon will hold its first-ever Verizon Developer Community (VDC) Conference at the end of July with the goal of recruiting and empowering developers to build new mobile applications for Verizon's 80 million customers.

The VDC will be held in Silicon Valley on July 28 and will feature executives from Verizon, Research In Motion (RIM) and Softbank Mobile.

Verizon Wireless officials said the VDC Conference will provide mobile applications developers with an overview of the company's overall strategy around applications; information on a new developer portal; and the process of submitting, launching and revenue sharing for applications on Verizon Wireless devices as well as the upcoming launch of an applications store. Technical, marketing and network information will be addressed by Verizon Wireless leaders and other partners.

"This is a way to open dialogue with developers about building mobile applications for the Verizon store," said Debi Lewis, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless. "We have been in the content business for awhile with our feature phones, but as the market has turned to more smartphones like the RIM BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices we decided to try to do more to ensure our customers have access to all the applications they want."

However, Lewis says observers should not expect to see Verizon Wireless competing with its partners with its push for developer love.

"I think one thing to note is Jim Balsillie [Co-Chief Executive Officer of RIM] is speaking at the conference and will outline how our collaboration with RIM will work," Lewis said. "It's about working together."

Indeed, said Lewis, "One key factor is Verizon Wireless is not a software company, so we will not be providing an SDK [software development kit] of our own or anything."

But what Verizon Wireless can provide is access to scale, to distribution and to APIs that can help developers optimize their applications for a Verizon Wireless experience, she said.

Further, Lewis said Verizon Wireless simply wants to make it easier for both developers and customers. "This is about enabling developers to easily build apps and to make it easy for people like my mom to be able to get the apps they want," she said.

Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless, said the conference will be an important "coming out" for Verizon with the application development community, building on the open development conference that focused on devices, which the company held in March of 2008.

In a statement, McAdam said, "Even going it alone, Verizon has become the largest and most successful mobile multimedia service provider in the nation. But despite that success, we have learned an important lesson: The wireless future will be built on partnerships and collaboration."

John Stratton, Verizon's chief marketing officer, said application developers can expect to participate in discussions about accessing Verizon Wireless' customer base through a host of devices and operating environments.

"Conference speakers will detail how developers can take advantage of new tools and resources, including Verizon Wireless APIs, to build applications and get them in front of more than 80 million customers," Stratton said in a statement. "This conference is a direct result of feedback we received from our development partners to streamline our processes. The model that we'll share at the conference is singular in its focus: To make working with Verizon Wireless more compelling, lucrative and, above all, simple for developers."

Through its open development program, Verizon Wireless has certified more than 50 devices for use on its network. Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless offered developers technical specifications for devices that will run on recently-acquired 700 MHz C-block spectrum where its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will operate.

More information on the conference can be found at


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