By Max Clarke

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), a global alliance of telecommunications companies committed to simplifying application development, today announced the availability of a new cloud-based "white label" mobile app store. The store is designed to help mobile operators quickly build their own online application stores and offer subscribers innovative new applications and widgets for consumer and business use.

Massive adoption of smart devices have driven an increase in the number of applications downloaded to mobile devices as new apps and widgets become increasingly ubiquitous in every aspect of personal and business lives. As demand for these applications grows, mobile operators need the flexibility to quickly set up mobile application stores and offer subscribers a diverse selection of innovative new applications to remain competitive.

IBM and WAC are working together to help communications service providers and developers address this global market and quickly commercialize countless applications using a customizable device client and mobile app store that is pre-integrated with WAC's wholesale application warehouse. The app store and client offering give subscribers the ability to easily browse, shop, download and install and rate WAC widgets and native applications.

The app store is built on IBM WebSphere Commerce software. Over the 15 years IBM has been in the e-commerce space, WebSphere Commerce has been the choice of thousands of retailers worldwide. This gives WAC members the ability to enhance customers' shopping experience by promoting applications and automatically providing discounts based on customer preferences and buying behaviors. The storefront can also provide targeted marketing campaigns to tailor the shopping experience.

For subscribers, the application store also makes the process of downloading and paying for applications as seamless as possible. Automatically populated with WAC's catalog of more than 12,000 applications, the new store front is available to WAC members via a cloud-based service so they can rapidly begin offering and selling new applications.

"The intersection of cloud computing, IBM's expertise in building rich portals with integrated commerce, merchandising and promotions, combined with WAC's extensive set of global applications creates a tremendous opportunity for mobile operators to expand and grow their business," said Scott Stainken, general manager, IBM global telecommunications industry.

In addition, the client for the app store integrates with the Opera WAC Runtime that fully implements WAC 1.0 specifications. Not only does the Opera WAC Runtime allow a full end-to-end solution for WAC members, it also provides developers with a powerful tool to create, test and execute their applications.

For service providers, participation in WAC offers an open industry platform that benefits the entire ecosystem and will speed up the development of applications so that operators, developers and customers can benefit. For application developers challenged by diverse programming models, run-time environments, device and network APIs and custom application provisioning and update models, the Wholesale Applications Community simplifies application development by giving developers the opportunity to write applications that can be deployed across multiple platforms. It helps service providers address a potential global market of more than three billion users.

"The cloud-based, white label application storefront developed by IBM will be invaluable to those operators who wish to quickly and effectively launch their own WAC-enabled storefront," said Peters Suh, CEO, WAC. "We're delighted to have IBM as a member of the Wholesale Applications Community and are looking forward to the continued level of innovation that they will bring."

IBM Global Business Services will offer integration and customization services, for the App Store, to WAC members worldwide which can be hosted on-site or via Cloud infrastructure hosted IBM.