Yahoo Acquires Video Broadcast Startup OnTheAir
December 5, 2012

Video Chat Startup OnTheAir Acquired By Yahoo In Push For More Mobile Expertise

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Yahoo announced on Monday that it plans to acquire video chat startup OnTheAir, in a deal aimed at bringing more mobile expertise to the company.

The five-man OnTheAir team — Abel Allison, Daniel Hopkins, Erik Goldman, Josh Schwarzapel, and Mike Kerzhner — are all former employees of Google, Apple and various tech startups, and will join Yahoo´s mobile team under Adam Cahan, senior vice president of emerging products & technology, Yahoo said.

The California-based startup, whose broadcast app lets people connect via live video chats, confirmed the deal in a statement posted on its website.

“When we started OnTheAir, we had dreams of building a company that made a difference in the daily lives of millions,” the company said.

“While we haven´t yet attained our dream of building a widespread daily use product, we are just as committed to it. And this is why we´re so excited to be joining Yahoo”

The planned acquisition of OnTheAir, which launched its product just nine months ago, is the latest for Yahoo in the mobile market, a critical segment targeted by new CEO Marissa Mayer. Last month, the company acquired smartphone app maker Stamped in what some analysts called an "acqui-hire" of talent. Under such a deal, the staff from a company is acquired for a premium while the product is abandoned.

“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,” Cahan said in a statement about the acquisition.

The OnTheAir team could help Yahoo compete with Google Hangouts, along with creating new mobile communications apps.

OnTheAir built their online video site nine months ago for people who wanted to stream content to large audiences and incorporate viewers in their live broadcasts. The adhoc webinars resemble a less personal version Google+ Hangouts, except Google+ now includes a Hangouts On Air feature for users who want to broadcast to larger groups.

The news of Yahoo´s latest acquisition comes just one day after the company announced it was shutting down its public chat rooms, a feature that had seen its popularity wane in recent months. Last month, Microsoft announced it was retiring its Windows Live Messenger service and migrating nearly all of its users to Skype.

Financial terms of Yahoo´s acquisition of OnTheAir were not disclosed.