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FaceTime Challengers Now Include Yahoo

Yahoo Messenger

Back in June, Apple spent a great deal of hoopla touting the new FaceTime feature of the iPhone 4 — but the market for video chat is heating up quickly, and now Yahoo has lined up to be the next contender in the App Store as well as on Android devices.

Reuters is reporting that Yahoo is planning to update its popular Yahoo Messenger app to enable built-in video calling, according to the company’s vice-president of mobile for the Americas, David Katz. Yahoo’s video chat will be available as a free app for both the iPhone as well as Android devices.

Yahoo is clearly taking aim at Apple’s new FaceTime, which is already being challenged by rivals such as fring and the recently released Tango — although neither of those companies have the brand recognition of Yahoo. What all three companies do have as a leg up on Apple is the ability to offer their video calling over both Wi-Fi and 3G, where FaceTime is (for now) a Wi-Fi only service that requires either an iPhone 4 or a fourth-generation iPod touch.

The free Yahoo app will enable video calling between other iPhone and Android users with the app installed, but will also extend to desktop PCs that have the software installed. Katz claims there are currently 81 million Yahoo Messenger users worldwide, so that’s a lot of folks to potentially talk to.

Yahoo’s app update appears to be ready to go, but still has to leap one last hurdle, which is Apple’s approval. Given that several competing apps with similar features already exist, this shouldn’t be an issue and the company expects the updated Yahoo Messenger to hit the App Store “soon.”

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Yahoo CEO Says Apple's iAds "Will Fall Apart"

One of Steve Jobs’ tentpoles appears to be a bit shaky right now. We’ll admit, we were a bit unsure when we first heard of iAds too.  Would Apple be as controlling over the content and as capricious in their ad acceptance and rejection as they had been at the App Store? This would be a test.

And if the rollout is any indication, advertisers and other executives aren’t very impressed with the product. Via 9 to 5 Mac, we see that Yahoo’s CEO, Carol Bartz, thinks Steve’s tentpole is too flimsy and “will fall apart.” Like us, she looked at Apple’s penchant for control of content and decided advertisers simply aren’t going to bite. Sex sells, as everyone knows, so if you want people to buy your car, your HDTVs, your Viagra, having a scantily clad bikini model somewhere in the ad, no matter how irrelevant, is a sure way to get clicks. But you will recall Apple’s rather high-handed purge of various bikini and wobble apps in the App Store. Put these two together, this is not a recipe for success.


As we noted earlier, the iAd creation is in HTML5, which is still relatively new, and Apple has yet to deliver any kind of helpful or comprehensive SDK for iAds. Also, ad packages click rate and Apple’s cut makes iAds often not worth it. Most ominous of all, Apple has been actively engaged in the creation and content process, reputedly slowing down ad turn around time. Those of you with experience in advertising or marketing will recognize that increasing the number of heads involved in any creative project necessarily reduces the pace.

During Jobs’ keynote, he announced 17 partners for iAds who were going to be there at the launch. By July, only two of these, Unilever and Nissan, had actual iAds up and running, while Disney and JCPenney finally managed to put something up last month. The slow rollout definitely supports the criticisms others have launched.

Granted, Yahoo’s Bartz has a dog in this fight, so she’s not necessarily a neutral observer. Yahoo is looking to expand into the growing mobile advertising business. While it’s not necessarily the best business practice to join the market by bashing the other guy’s wares, it happens every day. Will iAds fall apart? Only time will tell.


Bing Jumps Ahead Of Yahoo In Search Engine Land


(Image courtesy of

Granted Yahoo and Bing might have joined forces, but given both sites still exist, we still have to rank their market share right?  Don’t expect Google to leave it’s perch anytime soon, but some new Nielsen rankings actually place Bing ahead of Yahoo now.

“Nielsen’s search data only counts genuine intentional searches that people type into a search box,” Nielsen notes.  “It does not include non-intended or ‘contextual’ searches that are automatically generated by search engines based on a person’s browsing behavior.”

Using this information, Nielsen says that Bing had controlled 13.9 percent of the search market in August, which was up just a hair from July.  As for Yahoo, they dropped backward 1.5 percentage points from 14.6 percent in July to 13.1 percent in August.

via Maximum PC

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