Orange, O2 and T-Mobile plan rival to Apple App Store

Apple App Store
O2 and Orange would prefer you gave them your money

Several phone networks, including Orange, O2 and T-mobile are forming an alliance to rally against the rise of the app store model.

With Apple, RIM, Android and Nokia all offering different, incompatible services, there is some fear about the increasing segmentation of the market.

Not only that but, according to the Guardian, the networks "fear they are in danger of becoming little more than 'dumb pipes in the air'", while the individual store fronts eat up all ofthe money being generated by the apps.

The aim of the Open API initiative is to provide an inviting environment for developers, with the apps that result from the scheme being paid for directly on the customers' phones bills.

Nibbling at Apple

While it seems odd that Orange and O2 should be rebelling against their cashcow, it's worth remembering that this is how mobile games and progammes used to be provided to many phones, so it may be that the networks are sick of Apple and others eating their lunch.

It's currently unclear on what platform this new system would be launched, but it could take a similar route and extend the multi-platform store Orange has already announced.

We're all for standardisation of apps meaning that we wouldn't have to repurchase everything if we switch from one manufacturer to another, but with Apple's store alone hitting three billion downloads, it's an awfully big juggernaut to take on.