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T-Mobile dumps Google for Yahoo in Europe

13 февраля 2008

Yahoo Inc ousted archrival Google Inc as T-Mobile's top Internet partner in Europe as it unveiled a service to squeeze social Web connections on to cell phone screens, a day after rebuffing a $41.6 billion takeover bid from Microsoft Corp.

The deal, announced at the Mobile World Congress wireless fair on Tuesday, puts Yahoo on a strong footing with carriers in Europe, building on deals it has closed with operators in the Americas and Asia, as it seeks to make up in mobile the ground it has lost to Google in computer-based Web search.

Yahoo now has access to 600 million potential users through its carrier partners worldwide, and Marco Boerries - the executive leading Yahoo's mobile push - told Reuters he aimed to reach 1 billion by the end of 2009.

"Europe is now wide open," he said in an interview at the trade fair. "For the rest of Europe, let the games begin."

Yahoo's new service, called oneConnect, creates a single contacts list for users that draws on all their Web connections - regardless of whether those connections were made through instant messaging services, email or online social networks.

Users can then see - to the extent that their contacts allow them to - their friends' availability, activities and messages, without the bother of trying to navigate between Web sites and inboxes on a mobile phone.

"Today, most people have too many forms of communications," said Boerries, executive vice president of Yahoo's Connected Life division. "To keep in touch with all of them you have to go to all of these different Web sites."

Once the free service becomes established, Yahoo plans to introduce discreet advertising on parts of oneConnect, sharing the revenues with phone operator partners.

Race for headlines

Google and Nokia briefly grabbed the headlines at the Barcelona wireless fair on Tuesday, announcing a deal to integrate Google Search into Nokia's own search engine it preinstalls on dozens of its handset models.

Nokia, which makes 40 percent of cell phones sold in the world, will add Google to the Microsoft and Yahoo search options it already includes.

The race between companies wanting to put their own stamp on consumers' experience of the mobile Internet - and gather information critical to advertising strategies -- has made rivals of parties once happy to mind their own business.

Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Nokia have been outdoing each other with mobile Web-related news at the fair this week.

Yahoo's deal on Tuesday with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile division trumped the excitement that broke out around Microsoft's announcement late on Monday that it had agreed to buy Danger, a company best known for the software that drives the Sidekick mobile Web browser.

Before the fair, a buzz had built up around anticipated sightings of prototypes of phones based on Google's new Android software platform -- a buzz that quickly subsided as it became apparent that the working models on display bore little resemblance to anything that might appear in shops.

But the struggle for influence over the mobile Web need not have a single or even just a few winners, said the head of Microsoft's mobile communications division, Pieter Knoock, pointing out that the market was growing fast but still tiny.

Just 123 million of the 1.1 billion phones sold last year were so-called smartphones, cell phones with computer-like capabilities like e-mail and Web browsing, and business models are still being developed for mobile advertising.

"There's a lot of opportunity," Knoock said in an interview. "Mobile advertising is a greenfield site, and PC advertising expertise doesn't necessarily help."

"The question is who's going to win in which services."

Источник: Reuters

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