The religious analogy is deliberate. .mobi is an initiative to improve the quality of the available internet on mobile devices. It provides guidelines on site design and structure and proposes exclusive use of a .mobi domain to let users know that it is mobile compliant. Other forms of URL or site structure are actively discouraged (and often disparaged by a zealot-like following).Mowser is a transcoder. A site designed to take any internet page and re-render it to a mobile device irrespective of domain URL. Transcoders are – and I hope I am forgiven for this – a quick and dirty way of viewing the internet. To the original thinking in the .mobi organisation they are either the devil or a necessary evil before true conversion to the .mobi mantra catches hold in the masses.
That .mobi would buy mowser signals a clear change in strategy. Yes, bringing on board Russell Beattie and Mike Rowehl into any organisation will help increase the drive, energy and mobile knowledge within it but to buy the software too means one of the following, both of which are profound:
- The owners of .mobi – largely the operators – have exerted some influence. Perhaps wanting a little more acceleration of creating a mobile standard and seeing .mobi growing but not quickly enough, the operators are interested in accelerating things through a quickier, dirtier approach. More likely perhaps, with widespread criticism of transcoder deployment from Novarra and Openwave, the operators might figure that to bring on a transcoder into the .mobi fold will allow it to develop a solution with widespread mobile industry support and then deploy something potentially more effective and less contentious at a later stage. It will have been an inexpensive hedging strategy, particularly as it is split several ways.