Yahoo Partners with Motorola: Should You Care?

Yahoo and Motorola recently announced a multi-year deal where Motorola will pre-load Yahoo Go for Mobile on “tens of millions” of mid-priced and high-end Motorola phones. The deal is similar to the deal Yahoo and Nokia struck in January. Currently, Yahoo Go for Mobile is available in US only from Cingular on a single Nokia phone (S60-based Nokia 8862) available since February. 5-10 models are shipping with the service in Europe and Asia.
Among other features, Yahoo Go for Mobile stores all contact information and uploads pictures you take to the Web, offering a single, sychronized repository accessible from both phone and Web. The service is not for the masses as Yahoo recommends an unlimited data subscription to avoid shocking data charges as the phone transfers a lot of data to maintain the synchronization and web storage.
Motorola will begin shipping phones with Yahoo to Go for Mobile in the first half of 2007, but the companies declined to disclose specific models.
In the software business we call this vaporware. Yahoo and Motorola are announcing a service requiring phones that will not ship for at least six months (“first part of 2007” *could* mean much longer), that work best with unlimited data plans that carriers love to sell, but consumers are reluctant to buy. Without a big data plan, Yahoo warns that data charges could add up fast.
It seems to me that those who really want to remain connected to email are probably not using Yahoo Mail as their primary email. Furthermore, if you are going to pay for unlimited data, you are likely to be drawn to a Blackberry or Treo handset that is better optimized for the task.
Yahoo’s motivations are clear: Yahoo and Google are competing to plant their heel in the mobile market. In general, these efforts are to be applauded as making Yahoo and Google (and other services we all rely on) more accessible from a variety of devices is a good thing. A “good thing,” however, does not mean we are holding our breath for the fruits of this particular partnership.

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