The big tech companies seem to be on the hunt for buying smaller start-ups in a bid to try and stay ahead of the competition. Google and Facebook are certainly on a buying spree. Yahoo, the other tech giant, is not far behind. They have been on a buying binge of their own, though not on the same level as either Google or Facebook.
Their most recent acquisition has been Meh Labs, who created the app Blink that lets users set a time for the message they send to self-destruct in the receiver’s phone. They are also the creators of another app, Kismet, which allows you to check-in at locations.
Blink is an app that is competing directly with Whatsapp and Snapchat, but the number of people who are using it is far lesser than the big 2. But with Whatsapp already being bought by Facebook, Yahoo had to get into the mobile scene as well, to ensure that it does not become redundant. And so, they have made this investment in the startup that has a messaging service as one of its apps.
However, if you think Yahoo will let these acquisitions run by themselves and develop products on their own, then you could not be more wrong. Google and Facebook make their acquisitions based on the visibility they get or the talent of the acquired company they can use. In fact, Facebook stripped its own app features so that users will use Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook messenger, etc for specific purposes rather than have all of them in one giant application.
But Yahoo seems to be going in the opposite direction. Instead of having individual apps, the idea is to have only one place where users can come and stay and enjoy the full experience. This seems to be the reason why Yahoo continuously shuts down most of its acquisitions and simply integrates the staff into the parent company. This is more than just speculation, as the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, recently stated that users that come to Yahoo usually come for one service and discover another. For example, they come to use Yahoo’s email and stay for the Finance. And this is the reason why Yahoo wants to keep all its offerings in one place.
“Once the user’s in that app experience, the easiest thing to do is stay in that app experience,” she said. “That’s one reason we wanted to make our app a little more fully featured.”
Yahoo has been criminally late in stepping into the mobile scene, and ever since Mayer was appointed the CEO in 2012, she has been on a warpath to ensure that mobile becomes a major part of the company.
However, the acquisitions they are making, barring Tumblr, have not exactly been industry leaders. Of course, since the apps are not supposed to be running independently, the focus is probably more on the talent they can acquire from these startup companies.
One can only hope that Yahoo’s strategy works in the long term, or else they are in danger in being left behind in the digital race.