This should come as a surprise to no one, given that it was painfully obvious in the Marketplace screenshots Malatesta broke over the weekend, but Microsoft apparently is in talks with carriers to have their own customizations in the Windows Marketplace.
As you can see above, it looks like AT&T will have its own little corner, and talks are under way overseas, too, according to Tweakers.net: (Apologies for the translation)
Microsoft wants to close deals with the major providers to the 'branded' versions. "Then about O2, Telefonica and Vodafone, large telco's," says Maarten Sonneveld, business group lead for Microsoft Mobile Netherlands. The providers may 'branded' versions use own ROMs of Windows Mobile devices.
Questions still remain as to what will actually be in the Marketplace upon launch. (For that matter, we still have no idea when the Marketplace and Windows Mobile 6.5 will launch.) We know of a bunch of developers who plan to be there from the outset, but the list of prohibited apps we found over the weekend has a lot of people scratching their heads. We'll just have to wait and see.
Via Unwired View