Microsoft and Vodafone have published a technical road map and a white paper as part of their effort to allow PC applications to take advantage of services offered on mobile networks.

The announcement, at this week's Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, follows news of a partnership between the two companies that came earlier this month at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference in Geneva.

The technical road map talks about how existing work in the Web services world, with specifications such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and WSDL (Web services description language), can be linked to technologies used in the mobile world, said John Maffei, director of Microsoft's platform strategy group. Examples are the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) authorization used with GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), SMS (Short Message Service) text messaging and location-based services, he said.

The white paper talks about possible business scenarios for PC applications that can use mobile services, Maffei said. He repeated an example given earlier of a road-side assistance provider. A PC application that connects to a mobile network could display the location of a stranded motorist who calls for help from a cell phone, using a location service provided by the mobile operator.

Microsoft and Vodafone hope to get feedback on the published documents and are inviting other industry players to join the effort. A workshop is planned for late January in London where technology providers, including software makers, system integrators, mobile infrastructure vendors and handset makers are invited, Maffei said.

"This is not a Microsoft and Vodafone initiative, we would like to see it industry-wide," he said. Ultimately, the result of the work could be sent to a standards body, he said.

The road map and white paper can be found online at: http://www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/mobilewebservices/