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Summary:

After Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) SDK event, I drove north to Sunnyvale to meet up with Yahoo’s (NSDQ: YHOO) mobile group. I figured since I was in…

After Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) SDK event, I drove north to Sunnyvale to meet up with Yahoo’s (NSDQ: YHOO) mobile group. I figured since I was in the neighborhood, and I’m from Seattle, I might as well make the most out of the trip. As I headed into the meeting with Steve Boom, Yahoo’s SVP of Broadband and Mobile, it was my goal to understand Yahoo’s mobile strategy, which has trickled out over the past year. As an unintentional outcome, I also found myself bouncing off what Yahoo was telling me with what Apple said earlier that day. What I learned is that both companies are trying to bring the Internet to the mobile phone, but in entirely different ways.

One of the first things Steve Jobs said on stage was that 71 percent of mobile browsing in the U.S. is conducted by Safari. “The iPhone is bringing the Internet to a mobile device for the first time,” he declared. That’s clearly a lot of usage and reach, but one might argue Yahoo’s goals are much grander. In a nutshell, Yahoo wants to be on every phone, not just the iPhone. By the end of the year, Apple guesses it will have about 10 million handsets in the market. Compare that to Yahoo, which can potentially reach 600 million subscribers today.

At that size, Boom said it’s a big enough market for applications and advertising to become truly successful. That’s also why he found it interesting that John Doerr, partner of world-famous VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said they were committing $100 million to a fund exclusively for iPhone applications (what could be conceived as a relatively small market). “The opportunity of the mobile Internet is much bigger than the iPhone — that

  1. Thanks for the great article. I'd have to agree more on Yahoo's strategy on the mobile web, than on Apple's, which seems to be take the internet as it is, and make it available to consumers. Yahoo's approach to take elements of the internet, pieces of information that users actually care about when on the move and need quick access to it, and present it in a mobile friendly way. The concern I have about Yahoo's strategy is that Yahoo! Go is Java based, and thefore suffers from the fragmentation issues that are inherent with J2ME apps. It would be interesting to see how far their widgets will extend, and hope that we will soon see browser based widgets making the most of the devices capabilities.

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  2. Give the consumer/web user the ability to click on objects. Such as keywords logos, trademarks, billboards, 1D, 2D, QR, datamatrix, etc. to receive instant information on the object in one click.

    Why type? I would rather say it into the mobile browser.

    The interaction to the physical world is going to need a big backer to make it happen? Who is on board?

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