3GSM - Microsoft launches 'mashup' contest for developers

Competition kicks off March 6

Microsoft and British Telecommunications Monday launched a competition to encourage developers to create "network mashups" that merge telecommunications features like voice and text messaging with Web 2.0 applications like mapping and search. A "mashup" application or web site combines content from multiple sources.

The Connected Services Sandbox contest, announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, calls for developers to build new managed network mashups that address specific service requirements in many different scenarios, said Andy Chu, group manager of planning and strategy for Microsoft's communications sector.

The sponsors will award prizes ranging from ranging from US$2,500 to US$25,000 in cash. If one of the network mashups is put into service by one of the telecommunications companies, the developer would have a chance to share in revenue it generates, Chu added. "We want to help the telecom operators to transform themselves from the traditional telecommunications based services and into a 'Telco 2.0' by creating these network mashups," Chu said.

Usage scenarios can include a combination of e-mail, instant messaging and document collaboration with Web services, like Windows Live, Microsoft MapPoint, Amazon, eBay, Google and Yahoo, Microsoft said.

In the first stage of the competition, developers create a story board for a mashup idea and present that idea, either graphically or through written specifications, to a panel of judges, the company said. The winning mashup design from the first stage moves on to the second stage, where developers build a prototype of the winning design.

The first round of competition will begin March 6 and run for several months, Microsoft said. Winners will be announced in June.

TopCoder, which runs several competitions for programmers, will manage the Microsoft-British telecom event.

Developers can sign up for the competition now.

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Heather Havenstein

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