Yahoo has a couple of ostrich feathers to its mobile internet telephony cap today with a flurry of with the news of a deal with T-Mobile, usurping Google, and the launch of a social networking tool, OneConnect.
The OneConnect platform creates a single contacts list for users that draws on all their web connections – including instant messaging services, email, the photo-sharing site Flickr and online social networks such as Facebook and Bebo. The snappy tool can fit bits and bobs of popular web services from Yahoo as well as rivals Microsoft and Google onto mobile phone screens. In a cute twist, the tool will also use geo-location to update the user when a contact is nearby.
T-Mobile has struck a deal with Yahoo, which will see OneSearch service be the exclusive search tool for T-Mobile from March this year. The partnership on mobile search marks the end of a deal between T-Mobile and Google struck in 2005.
This news is telling of Yahoo's commitment to beat its rival Google and corner the mobile screen as the default search engine. Both present at Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona, the two companies have taken different strategies in addressing the mobile market. Google is building Android, its own mobile phone software to integrate its services into future devices. Yahoo, on the other hand, is working with the current phone market and integrating its competitors' services into its platform. It will be interesting to see which strategy will win out.
Also, given Microsoft's play for Yahoo, which Yahoo is currently rebuffing, it is clear that any play by the search engine giant in the mobile space could complement and strengthen Microsoft's mobile strategy. While Yahoo focuses on consumers, Microsoft has more favour with enterprise users. mocoNews has an interesting analysis on what a deal between Microsoft and Yahoo could mean for the mobile space.
Consumers will be the ultimate deciders of these differing mobile strategies as they vote with their feet (or fingers) on how they want their information delivered.