No BREW, more Microsoft?
Mike Masnick of The Feature reports that Korea will be abandoning Qualcomm's BREW platform. This is a significant blow to Qualcomm, as Korea had been BREW's largest market. But it is a larger blow to the non-MS movement. Mike links to an article on Telecoms Korea entitled "Qualcomm's BREW leaves the Korean Market." Handset manufacturers seem to think that they can promote their own WIPI middleware for the Korean market.
Unfortunately, fragmentation of the API simply plays into Microsoft's hands. While a proprietary regional middleware standard may work for a short time in a market isolated primarily by language, such as Korea, in the long run there are enormous market network effects that will drive one or two platforms to dominate and squeeze out these small players. A few of these network effects -- education, books and magazines, conferences, interoperability with other software platforms, components, applications... The more fragmented the non-MS world is, the easier it will be for MS to become the plurality, and then the majority, and ultimately the dominant platform for handheld computing.