What lies ahead for Yahoo! and mobile? It sounds like Yahoo! Go for Mobile will be given a big push, now that Yahoo! is downgrading its SMS messaging services in favour of services which run over the mobile data network.
The evidence has come in the form of the closure of Yahoo!’s mobile division in London.
In the last couple of months about 15 or so people, mostly engineers in the Mobile division in London, have been made redundant and Yahoo! is to shut down some services in Europe like Yahoo! Tones, Premium SMS Mail Alerts and Compose SMS in Yahoo! Mail.
In an email to TechCrunch a Yahoo! spokesperson officially confirmed the company is “phasing out Yahoo! Tones and premium SMS alerts over the next several months to focus on the mobile services that are core to Yahoo!’s future growth. We are going to continue to focus on creating unique and compelling services, such as Yahoo! Go for Mobile, that make using the Internet on mobile devices fun and engaging for consumers, as well as look to further extend the reach of Yahoo!’s leading sponsored search and branded advertising services into the mobile experience.”
Sources say Marco Boerries – the guy who runs Yahoo! Connected Life in the US and was formerly the brains behind Sun Microsystems’ StarOffice – wants full control of all the resources in his business unit, and it looks like the London team was surplus to requirements.
We gather some of the London developers made redundant were offered jobs in the US or in Hamburg with Verdisoft which Yahoo! acquired in February last year for $96m. Who used to run Verdisoft? Marco Boerries.
One former Yahoo! mobile employee spoke to TechCrunch, who said: “It is just funny that they had to let the whole engineering team in London go to refocus in such a way. That is more a result of them being the only engineers that did not report into Marco Boerries.”
All engineering teams in Yahoo! report into Zod Nazem, Yahoo!’s CTO, except for the engineers in Yahoo! Connected Life. They all report into Andreas Meyer, VP of engineering. Who is Meyer? He has worked with Boerries since 1989, variously on Starsoft and Verdisoft. His current boss is Boerries. Again.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what Yahoo! does with Swedish mobile company Kenet Works, which made mobile social software for Sweden’s Playahead.se. Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri put the price of Kenet at EUR 16.6 million, according to Gigaom. Kenet Work’s presence software allowed for quite sophisticated mobile social networking, linked with online, so expect to see some of that turn up in the Go service next year.