Yahoo, AT&T Mark Five Years Together
Internet companies are usually pretty forward-thinking; this comes, I suppose, with the territory. Yahoo made a strange move today, however, by celebrating an event that’s well in the past – its five-year-old “groundbreaking alliance” with AT&T.
The commemoration isn’t unprecedented, though, with people also noting Google Base’s first birthday, and the 21st birthday of Windows. Yahoo has worked hard to branch out from its traditional role as a search engine, and AT&T, “the nation’s leading high speed DSL Internet and consumer voice services company,” is in a key position to help this expansion continue.
Steve Boom, Yahoo’s senior vice president of Broadband and Mobile, gave a statement that emphasized past benefits. “Our partnership with AT&T has given Yahoo! the opportunity to create truly innovative Internet experiences, not just for the PC but also on consumer televisions,” he said.
The companies gave vague hints as to what may follow. “In the coming months, Yahoo! will celebrate its fifth anniversary with AT&T by offering new features and incentives to consumers.” And yet, despite the overall cheery tone of the statement, some onlookers predicted trouble.
Om Malik wrote that “the past . . . has been perfect for these two partners, but deep down the future has to be tense . . . . The email accounts, the photo services or even the start page – those are Yahoo’s preserve. When a person switches from AT&T DSL, the relationship goes with Yahoo.”
Malik also noted, “A senior executive at one of Yahoo’s other phone company partner expressed big concern over this end-relationship, and posited that in the end it would become a thorn in their side.”
Perhaps it isn’t really confetti that we’re seeing at this celebration . . . . Perhaps the AT&T people just took out their frustration on a big stack of colored paper.