Yahoo angles for developers and dollars with new mobile suite

Mobile is now a core business, according to CEO Marissa Meyer, and the new offerings will help developers use Yahoo to monetize their apps

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Fighting a fierce battle for ad dollars in the mobile space, Yahoo today stressed a mobile-first bent and rolled out its Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite, intended to encourage mobile developers to use Yahoo services to monetize their apps.

Yahoo's strategy, detailed at the Yahoo Mobile App Developers Conference in San Francisco, is anchored by the company's newly acquired Flurry analytics service and the Yahoo Gemini platform for mobile ads. "Over the past few years, we've really reinvented our businesses with a mobile focus," Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer said, citing a statistic that has the average smartphone user spending nearly three hours a day using their device. Mobile, she said, has evolved from being just a hobby within Yahoo to being a core of its business.

Yahoo's suite features five products: Flurry Analytics with Explorer, featuring a new interface called Explorer, for interacting with data; Flurry Pulse, for sharing data with partners via the Flurry SDK; and Yahoo App Publishing, providing ads from Yahoo's Gemini platform, featuring native, video, and display ads. Yahoo's Brightroll video advertising platform and Flurry are factored into Yahoo App Publishing as well. Flurry Pulse, meanwhile, is integrated with comScore services for measurement and analytics.

The other two products are Yahoo Search in Apps, for incorporating Yahoo Search within apps, and Yahoo App Marketing, leveraging Gemini to acquire new users and track results. Developers can buy targeted native and video advertising from Yahoo's network of premium content, the company said.

An analyst acknowledged Yahoo's tough competition in the mobile world. "Yahoo is definitely in competition with much larger players [like] Facebook and Google, and its mobile evolution is a work in progress, but the Flurry acquisition was an inspired move that will help the company make developer inroads," analyst Al Hilwa, of IDC, said. "Facebook has made significant inroads with its Parse acquisition, which has been the basis for its huge investment in mobile application developers. Yahoo is looking to do something similar with Flurry."