Yahoo! Acquires Oddpost

  |  July 12, 2004   |  Comments

The portal giant broadens its offerings by snapping up a service that combines e-mail and an RSS reader.

As developments continue hot and heavy in the RSS (define) space, Yahoo is broadening its capabilities by acquiring Oddpost, a small San Francisco-based start-up offering a combined email client and RSS reader.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

Oddpost, which was founded in 2000, began as a Web-based email service similar to MSN's Hotmail or Yahoo Mail. More recently, however, the company integrated an RSS client that delivers news and blog entries to users' mailboxes. The company's email service, which is based on dynamic HTML, XML and SOAP, has been praised for its drag-and-drop interface as well as its speed.

According to an announcement on the Oddpost site, from now on the company will be working on "a new, advanced Yahoo Mail product ... that might be described as a powerful combination of our award-winning Web application technology" and Yahoo's email service. According to the announcement, "When that new product is good and ready, we'll migrate accounts to it." Until then, all Oddpost subscriptions will be extended free of charge, the announcement said. Oddpost subscribers paid $30 annually for the service, but the company is no longer accepting new subscriptions.

As Google prepares Gmail, its 1-gigabyte free email offering, for wide release, Yahoo has beefed up its own offerings, as did MSN Hotmail. The purchase of Oddpost suggests that Yahoo may be preparing to integrate RSS in Yahoo Mail as a further enhancement.

Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako refused to confirm this speculation. She said only that Oddpost's "outstanding technological expertise" would be brought to bear in products including Yahoo Mail.

Delivering RSS feeds via email is a way to get around one of the problems hindering widespread adoption of the technology. Up until recently, it has been necessary for users to install software or use a Web-based interface to read RSS feeds. This is a challenge for users who are not technologically adept.

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