M7 serves up wireless Web smorgasbord

M7 Networks joins a crowded field of companies selling a way for businesses to work with wireless technologies--but its version is like a gourmet buffet of existing software.

Ben Charny Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Ben Charny
covers Net telephony and the cellular industry.
Ben Charny
2 min read
Here comes the wireless Web's version of the smorgasbord.

It's being served by M7 Networks, which this week joined a crowded field of companies selling ways for businesses to work with wireless technologies. But M7 isn't selling its own homegrown technology, like the rest of the field. Instead, it is more of a gourmet buffet of existing software.

The company has been conducting its own version of a wireless technology taste test to find the best that exists and then reach agreements to help cobble them together into an uber-platform to offer customers. One of the winners was Ericsson's carrier-class technology.

But if that doesn't suffice, companies can also ask M7 to piece together any of the scores of wireless technologies available, said Hans Davidson, vice chairman of the M7 board of directors.

"If a company wants something different, we can do it," Davidson said.

The advantages, he says, are a quicker launch and, if the software gets upgraded, M7 can flip a switch and install it into the existing services.

But hard as the company is trying to differentiate itself from an estimated 120 other companies offering a way for businesses to go wireless, some analysts say M7 hasn't succeeded.

Jupiter Research's Seamus McAteer said the effort sounds a lot like what wireless data services provider Aether Systems has been offering. Other companies M7 is being compared to are Microsoft's Wireless Knowledge and Seven, which launched this week.

But it does have an impressive pedigree, which may attract customers on its own.

Chief partners in the company include Qualcomm, which took a financial stake. Nuance is another heavyweight partner, which will add voice recognition software into the mix.