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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

T-Mobile announced that it will soon begin using Yahoo as its preferred mobile search provider in Europe

T-Mobile Dumps Google in Europe for Yahoo

Mobile announced Tuesday that it will soon begin using Yahoo as its preferred mobile search provider in Europe, ending the operator's existing relationship with Google for mobile search.

The move was seen by many as a minor coup for Yahoo, which is competing with Google and Microsoft to win the loyalty of a growing number of mobile Internet users. Others noted that mobile search is in its infancy and said the field is still wide-open.

When T-Mobile signed its original deal with Google, it made headlines as one of the earliest partnerships between a mobile operator and a search provider.

"Well done Yahoo, for knocking Google off the Web n Walk home page," wrote John Delaney, an analyst for Ovum, commenting on the announcement. Web n Walk is T-Mobile's mobile Internet offering.

Beginning in March, T-Mobile customers in 11 European countries will see Yahoo's mobile oneSearch by default on their phones. OneSearch is designed to make it easy for mobile users to get relevant search results and navigate through different categories within search results.

The companies plan to offer other Yahoo services to T-Mobile customers, including Flickr, Messenger, Mail, Weather and Finance. Yahoo now counts 29 operators around the world as oneSearch customers.

The deal appears to mark a strategy change at T-Mobile. When the operator launched Web n Walk, the service was designed to mimic the Web by minimizing T-Mobile branded services and prominently offering Google, Delaney said. Since then it has evolved to add more T-Mobile services. It's not clear yet which strategy end-users prefer. "The risk is that T-Mobile will discover that its users really preferred it when T-Mobile gave them access to the Web, and then got out of their way," Delaney said.

While the T-Mobile/Yahoo deal is a blow to Google, the search giant had a significant mobile win of its own this week. Nokia announced on Tuesday that it will add Google search, in addition to its own search offering, on select phones. Nokia plans to extend the offering to more phones in the future.

Nokia has begun offering an increasing number of services, such as location-based maps and social-networking services, which could compete with offerings from operators. "Nokia is walking a bit of a fine line because they're definitely moving into what some consider carrier territory," said Mike Wolf, an analyst at ABI Research.

So far, the market for branded search services on mobile phones, like those from Yahoo and Google, is still wide-open, he said. The search providers are increasingly interested in mobile because there is strong growth in mobile Internet usage, he said. The iPhone is contributing to that, as a device that aims to make the mobile Internet as similar as possible to the PC-based Internet.

Services from Yahoo and Google also compete with those that are branded by the operator. Companies like Medio specialize in offering technology to operators for branded search services. Operators in the U.S. have been more likely to use the self-branded option rather than partner with one of the online brands. AT&T, however, is one notable exception -- it uses Yahoo's oneSearch.

Success in the mobile Internet is important enough that Wolf believes that Yahoo's track record in the mobile market was a factor in Microsoft's decision to try to buy the search provider. "Mobile is probably at least a consideration in the acquisition attempt," he said.


T-Mobile Drops Google In Favor Of Yahoo
Google was hit with a major blow yesterday when T-Mobile announced that they would be dropping Google as a European partner, in favor of going with the technology of rival internet search giant Yahoo. T-Mobile stated though they would still release the first Gphone with the Android mobile operating system before the end of 2008.

Yahoo will replace Google as T-Mobile’s partner in the UK and across Europe.

This is a huge blow to Google as they will lose 90 million mobile users who use the Google search engine through T-Mobile.

T-Mobile’s chief executive, Hamid Akhavan, stated that T-Mobile decided to go with Yahoo due to the mobile search technology. He stated it was better than what Google offered.

Akhavan stated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, “We have established a partnership with Yahoo that is strategic, this one is more than just working together. We believe we can have a longer and deeper relationship.”

Akhavan stated though that T-Mobile will continue to work with Google in other areas, such as a mobile phone operating system, Android anyone?

T-Mobile also stated they will offer customers the first Gphone with installed software from Google before 2008 is out.

Yahoo Presents OneConnect Mobile Service In Barcelona

The Barcelona Mobile World Conference unveiled a new service brought by Yahoo, oneConnect, a “socially connected address book” combining e-mail, SMS, instant messaging and social networking and at the same time, an open service that allows other companies to join, Yahoo said on Tuesday.

Marco Boerries, executive vice president for Connected Life at Yahoo said at the congress held in Barcelona that the service will become available this spring as part of the Yahoo Go 3.0 mobile platform. OneConnect is actually an all-in-one service, designed to keep users in touch with the latest changes of their social networking contacts, by mixing social messaging and social applications for the users’ best convenience.

The service will support sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Hi5 and others and will be compatible with instant messaging services like Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger. OneConnect is expected to make its debut in the United States around March this year.

“The key driving force in opening up the platform is putting content into the device. No company can create these ecosystems alone. We have to be open,” said Boerries at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, the Associated Press reports.

Boerries also announced the collaboration with the cell phone carrier T-Mobile, that will provide its European customers access to Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Weather and other related services. T-Mobile dumped Google for Yahoo because Yahoo’s mobile search technology was far superior to what Google had to offer, as Hamid Akhavan, T-Mobile chief executive, said.

Yahoo is also thinking about negotiating all-inclusive tariffs for the one Connect service, especially for its European users. The large amount of data sent to and from the mobile phone could turn the service into an unattractive one, due to high costs for its customers, but Yahoo is thinking about introducing prices for unlimited amount of data, similar to the U.S. system.

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