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Motorola, Yahoo Deal Could Challenge Satellite Radio

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The global number 2 handset maker will preinstall Yahoo services on its Linux and Java platform mobile phones.

Another day, another alliance. Yahoo has followed up its purchase of Konfabulator widget software maker Pixoria with a deal that will place its services on thousands of forthcoming Motorola devices.

“By working with Motorola and leading carrier partners on a global basis, we will be able to further extend Yahoo!’s presence beyond the desktop and onto millions more mobile devices, into the home and even into the automobile,” Marco Boerries, senior vice president of the Yahoo! Connected Life business unit, said in the release.

The automobile reference may indicate one destination for Motorola’s iRadio, a concept that has been mentioned since 2004. The iRadio service would stream Internet radio broadcasts to an iRadio receiver, such as a Motorola mobile phone.

Yahoo may see iRadio as a way to extend the reach of its Music Unlimited service and garner more subscribers. The Music Unlimited service offers over 120 channels of preprogrammed commercial-free music, and the monthly price of the service is much less than satellite radio options Sirius or XM.

By having a presence on Motorola devices, Yahoo services like instant messaging and search will extend its brand beyond the desktop, and reinforce customer loyalty. With that loyalty comes more page views, and thus more opportunities for Yahoo to derive advertising-based revenue.

Motorola also noted in a press release that it will include those Yahoo services on broadband-connected products, as well as on iRadio, a name that sounds like it should be an Apple product instead.

All of these Yahoo enabled devices will start to become available to wireless operators and consumers in 2006. Wireless operators will probably realize revenue from Yahoo services by charging an additional monthly fee for Internet data connectivity for handsets.

UPDATE: The nice people at SiliconBeat have posted some more information regarding Mr. Boerries and Yahoo Connected Life.

Mr. Boerries, the inventor of what is now Sun’s StarOffice productivity suite, was the founder and CEO of a company called VerdiSoft. Yahoo purchased VerdiSoft, whose server based product would allow a person’s application settings and preferences follow them from device to device.

The article cites Yahoo spokesperson Nicole Leverich providing some examples of how the technology could work: a phone number updated on a cellphone would be updated in other address books, in one instance.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Motorola, Yahoo Deal Could Challenge Satellite Radio
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