Microsoft, Yahoo Both Unleash Mobile Web Weapons

Dennis Faas's picture

As Microsoft continues its bid to take over Yahoo, both firms have announced moves to boost their standing in the mobile Internet market. Microsoft has signed a deal to supply its Silverlight system to cell phones made by Nokia. The system is a rival to Adobe's Flash software and allows devices to run interactive graphics and animations.

At first the system will only be available on high-end Nokia models. However, it's likely to be extended to other handsets, including those from LG and Samsung, so could theoretically wind up on 53% of all smart phones.

If Silverlight becomes popular, software developers will be able to create applications without having to worry about making separate versions for computers and mobile devices. It could also mean more people favour hi-spec mobile devices rather than larger laptops.

Microsoft isn't guaranteed market dominance, however. Adobe already has agreements with 18 of the top 20 mobile device manufacturers, and a stripped-down version of Flash is built into around 450 million phones. (Source:

Meanwhile, Yahoo is launching a facility to make it easier to bookmark favourite web sites on a mobile device. OnePlace, which will be released this spring, is specially designed for the requirements of small screens. Rather than merely storing a website address, a device using OnePlace would be able to automatically update the information a bookmark refers to.

The idea is that each bookmark is assigned a category depending on what type of information it links to. For example, a particular stock price and weather for a chosen location would be stored, managed and displayed in different ways. There will also be automatic customisation based on the user's location; for example, ski forecasts could jump to the top of the list when you are near a resort. (Source:

With both companies continuing to develop new technologies, it becomes clear just how much work would be involved in a Microsoft-Yahoo merger.

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