Yahoo! for an undisclosed amount, has acquired a license of an Arabic language startup Yamli's technology to use for its Arabic service, "Yahoo! Maktoob."
Yahoo! Maktoob will integrate Yamli's existing technologies into a new product, "3arrebni," or "Arabize me," which has launched on Maktoob's homepage and will be integrated into Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Mail in Arabic, Yahoo! Search, and Yahoo! Maktoob Forums as well as in the comments section of media products such as Yahoo! Maktoob News.
While Yamli will now be integrated into Yahoo! Maktoob's services, the deal will not affect Yamli, which will remain at its current address, operating as is.
The licensing marks a pivot into a new business model for the startup, as the Yamli blog points out: "Yamli's business model has been shifting from a consumer-based revenue model, focused on advertising, to business to business licensing of its transliteration and other technologies. The Yahoo! deal marks a major milestone in that pivot."
Yamli, was debuted in 2007 with a mission to "empower the Arabic Web", offers, as part of its platform, a smart Arabic keyboard that allows users who type in Latin characters to locate the most accurate Arabic term with real-time transliteration technology.
For Yamli, it's a natural fit. While the platform is already popular, with over 5 million words typed per day, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Jordan, Yahoo! Maktoob's licensing of the platform will significantly expand its userbase.
"This deal represents a milestone for Yamli, which over the years has been growing at an incredible rate. More than 3.5 billion words have been typed with Yamli to date, at a rate of 150 million words per month," Yamli Co-founder Habib Haddad, now CEO of Wamda, said.