Apple scratches Yahoo’s back and vice versa

Silicon Valley’s ever-intriguing game of corporate musical chairs continues unabated, this time with reports that Apple and Yahoo are exploring ways to give the latter a more dynamic and prominent role in the former’s iPhones and iPads.

Neither company would comment on the story, first reported in the Wall Street Journal. But attributing the details to “people briefed on the matter,” the article describes a number of collaborative ideas the two tech giants are kicking around.

And Apple’s sometimes-lovable, sometimes-not virtual personal assistant Siri is at the center of the discussions. From the report:

Data from Yahoo Finance and Yahoo’s weather site already come preloaded onto iPhones. Yahoo data, such as sports stats, help power Apple’s voice-activated “assistant” Siri. But the companies are discussing new arrangements, including possible deals to get more content from Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News and its other Web properties loaded onto Apple devices or available through an expanded partnership with Siri, one of these people said.

Siri, it seems, has become the digerati’s Miss Popular.

The two companies got closer last year when Apple began to tap more data from Yahoo for an update to Siri.

Siri circumvents Google and traditional search engines by giving users some information directly when they speak into their phones.

So the idea would be that in this Apple-Yahoo future, you’d ask Siri for last night’s score of the Giants-Dodgers game and Siri would summon up her inner Yahoo Sports and give you the answer.

There are, as always, a couple of back stories going on here. First, a move to get closer to Yahoo would make sense from a competitive stance for Apple, which has aggressively been trying to distance itself from Google,  most famously ending partnerships last year with the search giant over maps and video on Apple products. Second, a closer collaboration with Apple is one of Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer’s goal as she tries to reverse a drop in traffic to the site by hooking up with Apple’s popular mobile tools.

According to the Journal:

Ms. Mayer, who was hired in July 2012 to turn around Yahoo after spending 13 years at rival Google, said Yahoo had 200 million monthly visitors to its services through mobile devices and added that “we need to grow usage” in order to increase revenue, which has long stood at around $5 billion a year.

Getting on Siri’s good side may be just the first step in that process.



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