Mobile: “the good guys are building momentum”

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So says Chris Sacca, who has been leading Google’s attempt to shake up the wireless industry.

In a post on his blog, Sacca has just paused to take stock. It was almost exactly a year ago, during a talk at Oxford University, that he first openly attacked the mobile operators for restricting the applications their customers can use. The result:

Within hours, my response was all over the newspapers and the phone was ringing off the hook. A lot of folks inside the company were upset and worried that Google would suffer retribution at the hands of carriers. Quite simply, I was in the doghouse.

Fast-forward to today, and Sacca seems to have made remarkable progress, at least in the US (though this hasn’t all been about Google – Skype’s so-called "Carterphone" petition to the FCC in February also had a big hand in moving things forward.)

Sacca could hardly have hoped for a sequence of headlines like those of the past five months. Consider these:

June: Buyers line up in the streets to buy the iPhone, a closed device that nonetheless gives an early taste of what a true internet-enabled handset could do.

July: The FCC adopts "open access" provisions for its upcoming spectrum auction.

November: A broad group of technology and mobile companies forms the Open Handset Alliance and considers adopting Google’s Android software.

November: Verizon Wireless says it will open up its network to "unlocked" handsets and internet applications next year.

Quite a year. Sacca may sound a little smug, but it’s certainly understandable.

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