Home Yahoo! Mobile: Claims Ubiquity, But What About Innovation & Speed to Market?

Yahoo! Mobile: Claims Ubiquity, But What About Innovation & Speed to Market?

The latest podcast at ReadWriteTalk is an interview with Adam Taggart, the Director of Product Marketing in the Yahoo! Mobile Group. In the podcast, Taggart discusses with RWT host Sean Ammirati “an overall uber-message” that Yahoo! is currently pushing for Mobile Web. Taggart emphasized that Yahho’s approach to mobile is all about scale:

“…we are now in the process of developing a mobile ecosystem that is intended to serve eventually billions of mobile consumers.”

Taggart explained that “I had to use the word “billions” there very specifically because it differentiates our strategy versus other people in the industry. Most of [our competitors] are taking a very highly optimized approach around the specific device type or a specific operating system, which is great.”

It’s obvious Taggart is referring to the iPhone, Windows Mobile, and other Mobile Web competitors. He says:

“So if we’ll take the iPhone for example, you know, a phenomenal, fantastic device and very, very popular. They will probably sell in the middle of this year their two millionth iPhone. Windows Mobile, which has been doing this for a while, a couple of years, and investing a lot of money in this space. So again doing very well, good operating system. They’ll sell about 30 million Windows Mobile Phones this year. Out of close about a billion phones were sold this year. So you know, kind of around 3 percent of the market itself.

So while you’re promoting a very good experience, you’re providing really just a very thin sliver of the total market of consumers out there with phones. At Yahoo!, our brand is all about ubiquity. All about getting services in a matter of all of you who access the Internet no matter what device type that you’re on. And we really want to stay true to that mission and make sure that we’re providing the absolute best mobile internet experience to the widest number of devices possible around the world.
(emphasis ours)

There’s nothing new in this strategy for Yahoo, of course. The Yahoo portal for the WWW has always been about reaching as many consumers as possible and providing a stable but conservative user experience. Yahoo epitomizes the mainstream Web – hence why Yahoo for a long time held off adding Ajax widgets and other web 2.0 features to MyYahoo, its personalized homepage for consumers. While Netvibes, Pageflakes and even Microsoft (live.com) and Google (iGoogle) have gone widget crazy, MyYahoo is slowly integrating those more interactive features (Ajax, widgets); but because of its huge user base it has introduced such features at a glacial pace.

The question then is: innovation-wise, is Yahoo! Mobile going to be able to keep up with faster, more targeted services like the iPhone, Windows Mobile and Google’s Android OS? Well, Adam Taggart says yes, because Yahoo has “opened up our mobile platform to the developers and publishers from around the world now.” Specifically, this is called Yahoo! Go 3.0 and already there are third party mobile widgets from eBay, MySpace and MTV. He also notes later in the podcast that their mobile “solutions are XML based”, so it’s easy for developers to create Yahoo! Mobile widgets. Yahoo’s platform is similar to Google’s Android, but it will reach many more phones than Google’s.

Sean asks whether there will be a Yahoo Mobile hacks day, like Yahoo has done for web apps. Taggart replied that “I can pretty much guarantee you will be having one in Q1 and there’s a lot of excitement around Yahoo! for this. And there’s a lot of excitement around the Yahoo! mobile team to see what the rest of the company is going to be able to do. So, definitely.”


Check out the full interview on ReadWriteTalk. It seems to me that Yahoo is making smart moves to ensure it doesn’t fall behind on the Mobile Web, like it arguably has in the WWW world. Yahoo has always been quick to introduce new web 2.0 functionality into its beta products – e.g. RSS in MyYahoo. But it’s also been guilty of extreme slowness both when bringing advanced Web functionality to its mainstream users, and when integrating the innovative services its acquired (think del.icio.us and Flickr).

Let’s hope with the Mobile Web, Yahoo keeps pace with Apple, Google and Microsoft. Its mobile widgets platform is promising and it can potentially reach a wide audience quickly. But Yahoo can’t afford to keep its ubiquitous audience waiting, this time.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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