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Yahoo! buys Web-on-cellphones technology

Online Anywhere snapped up for $80 million

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Portal supremo Yahoo! today acquired developer Online Anywhere for its FlashMap technology, software software that allows devices other than computers to access the Internet. The two companies had already entered into an agreement to deliver Yahoo! pages using Online Anywhere's software. The deal announced today essentially puts that relationship on a more formal footing and, more importantly, allows Yahoo! to provide the service itself. The deal was made through a stock-swap valued at $80 million, but it could bring Yahoo! much, much more. Mirroring AOL's 'AOL Anywhere' strategy, Yahoo! has its own 'Yahoo! Everywhere' programme, but unlike AOL's plan, Yahoo! appears less interested in offering branded Internet-access devices than ensuring that kind of kit can access its site. It's a plan that is not only more cost-effective than AOL's but lacks that World Domination aspect to AOL's plan, which is not too far away from Microsoft's Windows CE strategy. Online Anywhere's Oasis -- the software that contains delivers its FlashMap technology -- essentially allows devices to take incoming HTML code and reformat it so the information looks right on whatever display the device includes, ensuring Yahoo! can support a wide range of hardware without having to manually code each page with a given device's display limitations in mind. It's broadly similar to the kind of Web clipping software 3Com is using for its wireless Web access enable Palm VII. ®

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