By developing the initial specifications on their own, Microsoft and Vodafone probably hope to be able to work faster than if they were working with a large group of vendors, he added.
An IBM spokesman said his company supports the effort in principle, but was critical that Microsoft and Vodafone had chosen not to work through an industry consortium such as the Open Mobile Alliance. IBM will be watching to ensure the specifications don't favor developers who use Microsoft's software and tools, said Jon Prial, a vice president with IBM's Pervasive Computing division.
Executives for Microsoft and Vodafone insisted the specifications will be independent of any vendor.
"Our aim is to involve other mobile operators and other software suppliers and to establish standards," said Ian Maxwell, director of group strategic relationships at Vodafone. "We want to work together to create this new industry."
Microsoft hopes to benefit by selling more of its software and tools to companies that build the applications, while operators could benefit by opening new markets in which to sell their services.
"For us this is exciting because we're reaching a range of customers -- those using PCs and not mobile phones -- who we didn't reach before," Maxwell said.