The Middle Eastern division of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has obtained a license to use the technology in the Arabic transliteration tool called Yamli. Habib Haddad was the brains behind the Yamli tool and his start up tech firm, YallaStartup. Haddad is currently the CEO of the Middle Eastern entrepreneur site, Wamda. It should be noted that Yamli was launched in 2007.
Yamli is essentially a chance for Arabic speakers to use Arabic online without the use of an Arabic keyboard. Users who want to display Arabic type their words in Latin and Yamli transforms the Latin into Arabic.
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Yahoo has use for this type of technology in a variety of its services: Mail, Messenger, forums, news, etc. Here is where this technology is significant:”Yahoo is in the space of digital content, and one of the biggest things for them is user generated content and engagement so by offering that technology to their users they’re going to unlock a new untapped pool of users who will be able to write in Arabic, versus in English letters,” says Haddad (Thenextweb.com).
Essentially, Yahoo is able to tap into an entire part of the world and cater to their language and needs to get them surfing the web. Yahoo has made a variety of mistakes in recent weeks ranging from CEO scandal to selling good stakes. However, this move showed that the company has some fight left in them.
Yahoo has announced that their existing products will be integrated with the Yamli technology over the next few months. Yahoo first began their run for more Middle Eastern exposure in their 2009 acquisition of Maktoob. Maktoob, interestingly enough, just teamed up with BBC Arabic which should help Yahoo even further gain traction in the region.
Many tech leaders are urging companies to not overlook the Middle East’s potential. Here is what Habib Haddad had to say about the untapped market that is the Middle East:
“I hope that this will create a domino effect by encouraging other private sector companies, like Yahoo, to start doing more deals with startups, to start trusting more startups, and doing it in a tangible way. It doesn’t have to be foreign companies, but also the local private sector companies. Yamli started with two co-founders, and we’ve been able to build this whole company. The more we see of these deals, the more we’ll be in a better situation in terms of the ecosystem flourishing” (thenextweb.com).
The bottom line is that Yahoo is slowing emerging from its disastrous year until this point. There are still some changes that need to be made but right now Yahoo is leading the charge into the Middle East.