Yesterday, Yahoo announced they have acquired a license to arabic translation specialist, Yamli Technology. The idea is to integrate the translation technology into their Maktoob platform, an acquisition made to expand services into the Middle East and North Africa. The Yamli service allows Arabic speakers to easily type in Arabic regardless of whether they are used to an Arabic keyboard or even have access to one.
Ahmed Nassef, Vice President and Managing Director of Yahoo/Maktoob comments on the addition of Yamli to Yahoo:
“Yamli is a pioneering startup that created a clever solution for a real user need and built it on a robust technology, which remains best in class. By acquiring a license to the technology, we are able to marry it with our capabilities to further develop it and scale it to a wider audience through deep integration with our products and across multiple platforms. When looking at opportunities, we seek innovations that add significant value to our offering, and Yamli, with its technology that brings exeptional accuracy and seamless usability, was a natural fit.”
Yahoo is one of the few tech companies searching out pathways into the Middle Eastern and African markets, and the addition of Yamli will go a long way to further their efforts. Yahoo has owned Maktoob since 2009, but at the end of 2011, they signed a deal with the Arabic BBC to bring more Arabic content to the platform.
Yamli co-founder, Habib Haddad comments on the service and their new partnership with Yahoo:
“At Yamli our business model has been shifting from consumer, where it’s focused on advertising, to B2B, where it’s focused on licensing,”
“The deal with Yahoo is our flagship deal within our new business model.”
“I hope that this will create a domino effect by encouraging other private sector companies, like Yahoo, to start doing more deals with startups, to start trusting more startups, and doing it in a tangible way. It doesn’t have to be foreign companies, but also the local private sector companies. Yamli started with two co-founders, and we’ve been able to build this whole company. The more we see of these deals, the more we’ll be in a better situation in terms of the ecosystem flourishing.”
While no figures are currently available on how much Yahoo acquired the licensing for, it is an investment which is sure to make Yahoo/Maktoob more accessible and valuable in the Middle East and Africa.