Yahoo Acquires Mobile Talent Through OnTheAir Acquisition

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Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is determined to have a mobile dominance and if it means buying its way to do so, so be it.

This will come from purchasing key talent, and it may be happening sooner, rather than later, thanks to Yahoo’s Tuesday acquisition of OnTheAir. The marriage has already been announced on its website.

Yahoo Acquires Mobile Talent Through OnTheAir Acquisition

According to Venturebeat, the deal has been confirmed and it has been viewed as a “talent grab” as former staffers from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are with the company. The company’s staff is expected to help increase mobile expertise for Yahoo, as the company tries to improve its content distribution to mobile audiences.

Yahoo’s Adam Cahan, senior vice president of emerging products & technology, said in a statement, “Hiring the most talented mobile product thinkers and engineers is a big priority for us moving forward. Abel, Dan, Erik, Josh, and Mike are a great addition to Yahoo!, and we can’t wait to work with them to create the best possible mobile experience for our users.”

Meet OnTheAir 

The startup produced a 9-month-old online video site for those looking to stream to big audiences and to include viewers in live broadcasts. Venture Beat described it as a “less intimate version of Google+ Hangouts,” but Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) does offer Hangouts On Air, which can be used to broadcast to a larger group.

On Tuesday, the company’s team said its product didn’t hit the “widespread daily use” they had envisioned; Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) plans to discontinue the product.

The five OnTheAir players who started the product said, “When we first met with the team at Yahoo!, it was clear that everybody there is committed to making mobile products the backbone for the world’s daily habits.”

The workers headed to Yahoo include Abel Allison, Daniel Hopkins, Erik Goldman, Josh Schwarzapel, and Mike Kerzhner. From their bios, Goldman and Kerzhner are previous Apple workers, while Hopkins hails from Google, where he assisted with building of Gmail and Google+ infrastructure. Allison and Szhwarzapel (OnTheAIr’s CEO) have start up experience from Meebo and Cooliris, respectfully.

The financial details have not been disclosed and according to Venture Beat, OnTheAir may have raised just under $1 million in seed funding.

This acquisition follows Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s November purchase of the smartphone app maker Stamped. Some analysts called the transaction an “acqui-hire” of talent. Under this type of deal, personnel from a company are acquired at a premium price and the  product is then shut down.

Internet analyst Greg Sterling said of Tuesday’s deal, “It seems these guys (at OnTheAir) are going to join Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) as engineers in mobile.”

Yahoo’s stock is currently up 1.62% and trading at $18.85.

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