Within days of the 3G iPhone announcement, Yahoo! has made its own announcement in the mobile space. Yahoo! has extended the reach of its mobile services, by signing of a number of key advertising partnerships with Australasian telecos. Having announced partnerships with India’s MTNL, Hong Kong based CSL and others, Yahoo! has also launched “Yahoo Go 3.0″ in to Australia, India and South East Asia.
The Go 3.0 software allows users to access a variety of online services straight from their phone, such as photos, news, weather and finance in their local language. As part of the deal, Yahoo! OneSearch will be the default search option for mobile users on those networks.
Mobile is certainly an important growing space and winning market share is critical. It is vital for the major search engines as it allows them to reach more eyeballs through a different medium, but perhaps more importantly for the teleco’s, it drives increased usage of their data networks (over and above just voice and text) and that means new revenue.
The Yahoo! deal is a key strategic move for the fledgling search engine, however it has been undermined by the introduction of the 3G iPhone in the Australasia market. As the vast majority of networks through Australasia run on the GSM framework, with most having 3G capabilities, the 3G iPhone will have an immediate impact on the effectiveness of this deal, as users choose the iPhone over other mobile platforms. 3G provides high speed internet to mobile devices.
I predict the adoption rates in Australasia of the 3G iPhone will mirror that of the iPhone when first introduced into the USA. Thousands of users will move across to an iPhone which already has a great mobile browser, effectively making the need for OneSearch, and Go redundant. The default search engine for the iPhone is in fact Google which is not surprising given that Google’s CEO sits on the Apple board.
Whilst it is possible to change the default search engine (to change your default settings on an iphone follow these simple instructions – http://www.tuaw.com/2007/08/31/iphone-101-change-your-default-search-engine/) most users are lazy and will go with the default. That alone will prevent Yahoo and MSN from accessing a huge number of users – at least Microsoft have their own smartphone operating system and can steer users to their web properties via that, leaving Yahoo! to try to secure deals with whoever is left over.