AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, no longer constricted by the threat of Apple taking the iPhone to another carrier, was emboldened enough to criticize the App Store and voice his opinion of the future of apps and app stores. Stephenson suggested consumers would be better served by apps that could work cross-platform instead of for a specific OS. His preferred alternative is the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC).
WAC has been established to encourage standardized practices in app development and allow easy deployment across multiple platforms and devices. It is being supported primarily by carriers and phone operators such as AT&T, China Mobile, Orange, Verizon, Sprint, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. One of the biggest problems facing software developers for multiple devices is the ever-evolving nature of hardware and the resulting fragmentation. Devices come in many configurations including with or without GPS, trackballs, or touchscreens. Initially, critics dismissed WAC, as it was based on JIL and BONDI, as opposed to HTML 5, the preferred platform of Microsoft and Apple. However, WAC announced at the Mobile World Congress that WAC 2.0 would also support HTML 5. WAC 3.0, due in September 2011, will allow developers to incorporate network API’s including in-app billing and user authentication, another step towards a global app store.