Yahoo is a weird company in a weird place.
Two years ago, it installed former Google bigwig Marissa Meyer as CEO in an effort to turn the one-time web pioneer's business around and finally find a clear path into the future. Results have been mixed so far. But one thing's for sure: Yahoo's new wave of mobile apps, including the much-lauded Yahoo Weather, and its acquisition of Tumblr, are pretty great and greatly pretty.
Which is why it's not surprising that Yahoo held its first-ever Mobile Developer Conference today in San Francisco to woo coders the world over and point out that mobile accounts for a solid quarter of its revenue. That's $1.2 billion in real money. Furthermore, Meyer said that 575 million users (of 1 billion in total) interact with Yahoo on mobile.
Yahoo is doubling down on that momentum, claiming it's now a Mobile First company — prioritizing mobile development over all else. To that end, Yahoo unveiled a new Mobile Development Suite, which is aimed at helping devs "analyze, monetize, advertise and enhance their apps," per the company's statement.
The suite is clearly built to leverage existing Yahoo advertising and analytics technologies — Flurry, a recent acquisition, is front and center, yet another non-surprise given the product's claimed 200,000 users on 630,000 apps. Flurry Analytics Explorer gives more detailed reports on app usage and allows for advanced queries, while Flurry Pulse lets developers push app data to partner services without having to build in their SDK.
Example: Flurry Pulse is launching with a comScore partnership that lets developers send their audience metrics to its outside analytics platform without having to instrument it in the app directly.
Similarly, Yahoo App Publishing will allow app developers to take advantage of its Gemini and BrightRoll ad marketplaces to build "seamless" ads right into their apps by way of Flurry. That lets developers monetize using what Yahoo claims is the same technology the company uses internally. Yahoo App Marketing takes advantage of Gemini for outgoing ads that help developers build audience.
Finally, a Yahoo Search in Apps lets developers build Yahoo search directly into apps, which is potentially good for if you hate Google. Yahoo is positioning it as a potential alternative monetization channel.
Obviously, a lot of these tools have much to do with Yahoo's advertising business — not that there's anything wrong with that. Yahoo is rebuilding its good will in the tech industry with good apps, and monetizing by opening up its ad network is one of those things that makes sense.
Whether it's enough to return Yahoo to its one-time position of power and influence in Silicon Valley, no one yet knows. The same goes for the company's search business, which has been flagging for some time. But playing up its strengths and throwing its weight behind the app economy is a shrewd move, and it proves that while Yahoo may be down, it's definitely not out.
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