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@ MWC: Microsoft ‘Investigating’ Yahoo oneConnect Developments

They’re not bedfellows just yet — Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is “investigating” Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) over concerns surrounding its new oneConnect mobile social app. Unveiled in Barcelona on Monday, the app lets users use a host of services including Hotmail, Microsoft Exchange and Windows Live Messenger. Asked at launch how those connections are made, Yahoo SVP Marco Boerries told us Yahoo had tapped Connecticut-based DataViz, which also makes mobile software that reads Microsoft Office documents, to provide the bridge.

But Andy Chu, product manager for Microsoft’s mobile communications business, told mocoNews.net: “I was a little shocked when they talked about the messenger (aspect). Yahoo at the moment is not in our developer program, nor is the third party that they mentioned. So we’re investigating how that actually happened.” Microsoft formally licenses over 70 third parties to use some of its technologies in this way so it can properly guard against things like networks being overwhelmed. Yahoo Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger have had interoperability on the desktop since 2006.

I think in general Yahoo is being very aggressive in the mobile space and they are doing very well,” Chu said, welcoming the competition. Social and presence status features for the mobile phonebook are hotting up and are also part of Windows Live’s developments. Chu: “We developed this a while back and it validates our initial standpoint on where the industry is going.” Facebook Mobile director Jed Stremel told us on oneConnect: “It sounds very promising. We have not seen the product. I’d be very interested to make sure that they’re using our APIs in a way that respects user privacy, and we’re certainly looking forward to that discussion.”

Messaging: The GSM Association that hosts Mobile World Congress has encouraged operators and service providers over a couple of years to unify mobile IM standards – but Microsoft would rather curry favor for its own protocol: “A couple of years back, there was a whole big initiative around operators developing their own IM community. And then a year later they decided they didn’t want to work with the existing communities. MSN has over 300 million subscribers – we’re not necessarily part of the GSMA initiative but we’re working actively with all the major operators.” MSN is currently the standard picked by over 50 carriers and it’s most popular in Turkey, where Turkcell adopted it in December. Chu: “The up-take is phenomenal; it’s probably the highest up-take that we have seen anywhere in the world.”

On Danger: After Microsoft announced the acquisition of the Sidekick maker this week – will we see Paris Hilton carrying a Windows Mobile device around town? “It’s too early to say, we just announced the deal, it hasn’t gone through yet. Windows Mobile is not just for professional enterprise users anymore. If you look across the portfolio that we have – for example, the new SonyEricsson handsetthis is all about going down to the consumer level. The integration of Windows Live services in to our devices is all about going after that segment. There’s fairly consistent feedback from our operator customers that that’s where they want us to go.”

Android: Said Chu: “There have been some delays so it’s yet to be seen exactly how they will be progressing. Windows Mobile is the platform we’ve been investing in for over five years, over 140 devices in the market today. But (Android) is a good thing for the industry overall, bringing competition to the industry.” Chu said Microsoft’s new developer program wants to “enable mash-up scenarios to be created – integrating presence in to contact lists is the first step to that”.