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RIM to add Yahoo Web services to BlackBerry
Wednesday 5 April 2006, 0:01am EST
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By Sue Thomas
TORONTO, April 5 (Reuters) - Research In Motion (RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) (RIMM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) will put such Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Web offerings as search, e-mail, instant messaging, and news on its BlackBerry devices, and will start rolling out the service in 60 countries in about two weeks, the two companies said on Wednesday.
The deal greatly expands RIM's relationship with Yahoo, the operator of one of the Web's most-visited sites. Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM is seeking to widen its sales to include everyday consumers and enhance services to its existing, mostly corporate, base.
"Our job is to create a rich user experience for our community so that they want to use Yahoo on it, and hopefully we create such a rich experience for the Yahoo community that they want to buy a BlackBerry and run Yahoo on it," RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in an interview with Reuters.
The two companies, who already offer a limited Yahoo service, did not say how much the deal is worth, but Marco Boerries, senior vice-president of Yahoo Connected Life, described it as "significant".
"We have 200 million mail users worldwide, and we're using that user base of Yahoo to connect them to the premier device today," Boerries told Reuters.
Parts of the service, including Yahoo's instant messaging and communications service, will be rolled out to new and existing BlackBerry users over the next two weeks, as RIM starts making it available to 160 carriers in 60 countries.
The Yahoo Go service, which includes real-time access to Yahoo's community information and content services, will follow later this year, Boerries said.
"This is killer," Boerries said. "The cool thing about this is that in the same way we now seamlessly connect personal communications, your personal address book to the BlackBerry, we also connect personal information you are already using on Yahoo, like sports, news or weather."
He warns that it could make the BlackBerry, dubbed the "crackberry" because it is so addictive, even more habit forming.
Some new devices will have Yahoo preinstalled, and existing users will use a bookmark on their BlackBerrys to install the application.
The deal adds to Yahoo's ongoing program to extend its services beyond the personal computer to mobile customers and into homes.
The California-based company announced a similar deal with wireless phone maker Motorola (MOT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) last year, and is working on others with U.S. phone partners AT&T Inc. (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Cingular Wireless.