Yahoo Refocusing Mobile Efforts - InformationWeek

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11/18/2009
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Yahoo Refocusing Mobile Efforts

The company is shutting down its Go service to concentrate on specialized apps and the mobile Web.

Yahoo will be shutting down its mobile Go service early next year in order to focus on a stronger mobile browser experience and applications.

Introduced in 2006, Yahoo Go is a Java application that offers more than 400 handsets access to news, traffic, maps, weather, and other online information. Yahoo said the product has been highly successful but it was designed for a marketplace that has evolved and become far more sophisticated at getting information from the Web. The Go service will be discontinued on Jan. 12, 2010, and the company is encouraging users to use its mobile homepage for many similar services.

"It was great for the time it was introduced, but we're shifting those resources to the mobile browser and applications for sophisticated platforms like the iPhone, Android, and other," said Cory Pforzheimer, Yahoo's senior manager of communications.

Apps will play a strong role in the company's future mobile ambitions, but it likely will not replicate an all-in-one app like Go anytime soon, Pforzheimer said. Instead, the company will focus on apps for Flickr, fantasy sports, Yahoo Finance, and other specialized categories that generally receive a high level of user engagement.

The company is also hoping to attract developers to its Blueprint mobile development platform. Blueprint aims to tackle the fragmentation issue by enabling content creators to write mobile Web sites once and have them run on Java, Windows Mobile, and Symbian smartphones.

These types of apps can only reach a relatively small number of handsets worldwide though, and Yahoo said it is not neglecting its properties that can be reached with a mobile browser. The company recently launched an updated version of its mobile homepage, and Pforzheimer said it will continue to offer browser alternatives for its mobile apps.


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