Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US), seeking to lure more consumers to its Web sites, released new software that lets people use products including Internet search and e-mail more easily on mobile phones.
Yahoo also announced partnerships with Motorola Inc., Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), Samsung Electronics Co. and Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) to include the software, called Yahoo Go, on some phones. The software can be downloaded to 70 phone models starting today, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Yahoo Go is part of Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel's plan to spur sales (YHOO:US) by tapping consumers who want to access Yahoo's products on wireless devices. Mobile phones outsold personal computers by at least 4-to-1 in the third quarter of last year, an incentive for Yahoo, the most-visited U.S. Web site, and Google Inc. (GOOG:US) to expand their services.
``On a mobile phone, we think search is one of the key ways users will navigate information,'' said Steve Boom, senior vice president of broadband and mobile at Yahoo. The service will include ads, and sales will be shared with handset makers.
Google, the most-used Internet search engine, also said today it struck an agreement with Samsung, the world's third- largest mobile-phone maker, to include Google applications on some phones. Handsets will have a Google icon in the application menu for Internet search and also feature online maps and e-mail, Google said today.
Shares of Yahoo rose 18 cents to $27.92 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. They have declined 35 percent in the past year. Google shares (GOOG:US) fell $3.61 to $483.58 and have gained 3.9 percent in the past year.
There were 251 million mobile phones sold worldwide in the third quarter, compared with 59.1 million personal computers, according to Gartner Inc., a market research firm in Stamford, Connecticut.
Yahoo's software includes a feature called oneSearch that immediately gives information related to a search rather than just returning lists of links, the company said. A user searching for a sports event, for example, will instantly see the score rather than having to click on a link.
The service will operate alongside Yahoo's mobile Web site, which can be accessed from the Web browser on handsets and doesn't need any additional software, Boom said.
Although the services are free, consumers will need to pay data fees to their service providers. Boom said products such as Yahoo Go should make consumers more willing to pay those fees for online services.
Mobile is one of three areas Semel identified in October as a focus for the company, along with social media and online video. Yahoo is reorganizing itself into three units after disappointing earnings (YHOO:US) results.
Yahoo first released the Go software a year ago. That version only worked with high-end phones made by Nokia. The new version of Yahoo Go was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
Separately, Yahoo also said it will introduce a version of its instant-messaging software for Microsoft Corp.'s new Vista operating system. The software, to be released in the second quarter, has a new interface and makes it easier to manage contacts and share files and digital photos.
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