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Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Portfolio with Qwiki Video Start-Up

Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Portfolio with Qwiki Video Start-Up
By Jennifer LeClaire

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"Whether [Yahoo CEO] Mayer can bring all these 'small' acquisitions together into a coherent whole is uncertain," said analyst Greg Sterling of the Qwiki purchase. "The larger theme in many of these acquisitions is that they are all mobile-centric companies. Mayer is correctly focused on bringing Yahoo much more fully and rapidly into the multi-platform era."
 


In what could be a move to compete with Instagram and Vine, Yahoo continues its acquisition spree with the purchase of an app-maker whose software turns pictures and videos from events you've captured on your iPhone into short movies to share. AllThingsDigital is reporting an acquisition price of about $50 million.

"Sharing a Qwiki is easy, whether you want to share your favorite moments from Coachella with your Facebook friends or celebrate the best moments from your sister's wedding," Yahoo said in a statement. "We will continue to support the Qwiki app, and the team will join Yahoo in our New York City office to re-imagine Yahoo's storytelling experience."

Super Quick Movies

Here's how it works: After installing the app, you can create high-quality video with a single tap. First, Qwiki scans the Camera Roll and selects highlights of recent events. Then, the pictures and videos from these events are combined with a song from the iTunes library. Finally, the app applies captions, layouts and pacing.

You can choose to customize the video by rearranging the media, applying filters and adjusting the pacing. Finally, you can share the video via Facebook and Twitter, or privately via e-mail and SMS.

Qwiki landed on Time Inc.'s 10 NYC Startups to Watch for 2013. The company says "millions" have downloaded its products.

Too Much, Too Soon?

Is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer snapping up too many companies too fast? We turned to Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, for some insight. He told us the Qwiki buy is a relatively inexpensive acquisition for Yahoo -- and one that's also consistent with Tumblr in that it's a content creation tool, in this case involving images and video. It's also a mobile company.

"Whether Mayer can bring all these 'small' acquisitions together into a coherent whole is uncertain. She's placing lots of little bets with the idea that they bring people or incremental functionality -- except in the case of Tumblr -- to Yahoo's existing products. Think Summly and Yahoo's mobile news app," Sterling said.

"The larger theme in many of these acquisitions is that they are all mobile-centric companies. Mayer is correctly focused on bringing Yahoo much more fully and rapidly into the multi-platform era."

A Quick Review

In May, Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion and vowed "not to screw it up." That same month, Yahoo also bought Astrid, a mobile to-do list app. And in March, the company bought Summly, which offers an algorithm that generates summaries from hundreds of news sources. AllThingsD pegged that deal at about $30 million. Yahoo also snapped up Jybe in March, a mobile personalized recommendation service.

Of course, Mayer is making moves beyond acquisitions. In a recent product update, Yahoo beefed up storage on Flickr, its photo-sharing service, to 1 terabyte. Yahoo is also offering a new design for Flickr that puts photos at the heart of the experience. A new Activity Feed combines friends' recent uploads with activity on your photos. The goal is to drive more on-page interaction.
 

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