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Nine major mobile computing companies on Wednesday announced a joint venture aimed at issuing domain names to mobile devices.

The participants include Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp., whose mobile operating systems compete against each other.

Other participants include European service providers Vodafone Group, Orange PCS and Hutchison 3G Ltd.; the GSM Association; Hewlett-Packard Co.; Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to apply for a mobile Top Level Domain from the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN.) The current ICANN application round closes March 15, and ICANN is expected to accept or deny the application within the next several months.

Should ICANN approve the application the companies will form a registry company to manage the distribution of mobile domain names. The idea is to encourage the creation of Web content that is specifically scaled and designed for use on mobile devices.

“The creation of a mobile Top Level Domain would allow consumers to access the Internet in very different mobility scenarios, whether the access is provided by mobile operator, Internet service provider or various gateway devices at home or enterprise,” said Pertti Korhonen, senior vice president and CTO of Nokia in a prepared statement. “The wide industry participation highlights the shared objective of offering seamless global access and interoperability of mobile services and applications.”

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