Yahoo acquires online video chat start-up OnTheAir

Yahoo said it acquired a five-person video chat company on Tuesday, the second deal by new Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to bolster Yahoo’s mobile capabilities.

Yahoo did not disclose the financial terms of its acquisition of OnTheAir, but said the team would be joining Yahoo’s mobile group. A Yahoo spokeswoman said that Yahoo had not plans to offer OnTheAir’s existing product, which lets Web users host live video conversations and was launched in March.

Financial terms of the deal to buy OnTheAir were not disclosed but Yahoo said the five members of the young company would join the internet veteran’s mobile technology team, and that the OnTheAir product will not be continued.

The Stamped product that was acquired earlier would however be discontinued by the end of this year, and users have been advised to download their data from the website. Stamped is an iPhone app that lets people keep track off and recommend things like restaurants and books.

Yahoo said in a Twitter message on Tuesday that it was “thrilled” that the team from OnTheAir is joining the mobile team at Yahoo.

On the announcement posted on OnTheAir website, the team wrote,”When we started OnTheAir, we had dreams of building a company that made a difference in the daily lives of millions.Despite the challenges, our experience has been a rewarding one.”

“Hiring the most talented mobile product thinkers and engineers is a big priority for us moving forward,” Yahoo senior vice president of emerging products and technology Adam Cahan said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

“We can’t wait to work with (the OnTheAir team) to create the best possible mobile experience for our users.”

San Francisco-based OnTheAir launched in March with an application that lets people host online talk shows with the twist that hosts can bring audience members “onstage” in the form of split-screen chats broadcast for all to see.

Yahoo! snapping up OnTheAir created the potential for the Sunnyvale, California firm to field a challenge to the popular Hangouts group video chat feature at Google’s online social network or enhance mobile gadget services.

OnTheAir announced at its website that Yahoo had bought the company.

“While we haven’t yet attained our dream of building a widespread daily use product, we are just as committed to it,” the OnTheAir team said in a message on its website.

“And this is why we’re so excited to be joining Yahoo…everybody there is committed to making mobile products the backbone for the world’s daily habits.”

OnTheAir built their online video site nine months ago for people who wanted to stream content to large audiences and incorporate viewers in their live broadcasts. The adhoc webinars resemble a less personal version Google+ Hangouts, except Google+ now includes a Hangouts On Air feature for users who want to broadcast to larger groups.

The news of Yahoo’s latest acquisition comes just one day after the company announced it was shutting down its public chat rooms, a feature that had seen its popularity wane in recent months. Last month, Microsoft announced it was retiring its Windows Live Messenger service and migrating nearly all of its users to Skype.

Financial terms of Yahoo’s acquisition of OnTheAir were not disclosed.

Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

3 Replies to “Yahoo acquires online video chat start-up OnTheAir”

  1. A few months ago a couple of colleagues and me were looking for a really simple way to have group video chats. We didn’t find anything good in that area, so we went ahead and created Yugza video chat service. It’s totally free.

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