Earlier in the week, I speculated that Yahoo might be able to follow Facebook’s lead and create a Home-like proprietary software layer on top of Android. But, there would be risks in doing so.
An alternative way to boost mobile usage and traffic might be to deepen an existing partnership with another operating system that has massive reach: iOS.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is reporting this afternoon that Apple and Yahoo are having a conversation, with no deal imminent, to expand the amount of Yahoo content available to Siri and pre-loaded on Apple devices. According to the WSJ:
But the companies are discussing new arrangements, including possible deals to get more content from Yahoo News and its other Web properties loaded onto Apple devices or available through an expanded Siri partnership, one of these people said . . .
Yahoo also has contemplated ways it could provide Web-search results to Apple, so that Apple could rely less on Google Inc. But the idea is still a long shot because of Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft Corp., which powers Yahoo’s search service, and Apple’s deal to use Google’s Web-search service as the default in the iPhone and iPad web browser.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been investing heavily in mobile and tried to shift the focus of the entire company toward mobile and multi-screen usage. She has made a number of recent acquisitions to gain both talent and mobile technology. The recent Summly acquisition includes technology developed at SRI, which was the birthplace of Apple’s Siri.
According to the WSJ article, Apple is seeking to distance itself further from Google, but so far, won’t consider using either Yahoo or Bing as the iOS “default” search provider (though users can manually change engines) because Apple considers Google’s search results to be superior. Indeed, Google Search helps patch or hide imperfections or incompleteness in Siri’s data and the way it operates.
Even though Yahoo has made new overtures toward Google since Mayer came aboard, they remain competitors. A deeper Yahoo-Apple partnership would thus be a little bit of the old: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”