Yahoo buys Oddpost e-mail company

Yahoo has acquired Oddpost, a startup that provides an innovative, Web-based e-mail service, and plans to use its technology to spruce up Yahoo Mail and other Yahoo services, the companies confirmed Friday.

Like other Web-based e-mail, Oddpost uses a standard Web browser, but its interface functions more like that of a desktop program such as Microsoft's Outlook. For example, users can organize or delete messages by dragging them into folders instead of having to reload a Web page each time. Oddpost says this makes it quicker to use. Its users pay US$30 per year for the service, which can also be used to aggregate content from news sites and Web logs.

A Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed the acquisition Friday but would say little about Yahoo's plans. "All I can say is that they have outstanding technical expertise that will be brought to bear on products across the Yahoo network, such as Yahoo Mail," said spokeswoman Joanna Stevens.

A Web posting from Oddpost to its subscribers on Friday was more revealing. Oddpost will be working on "a new, advanced Yahoo Mail product" that incorporates Oddpost's technology, the posting said, adding that a date for the new product has not yet been set.

Oddpost was founded about three years ago and has 10 employees, all of whom now work for Yahoo, said Toni Schneider, Oddpost's chief executive. The acquisition was completed Friday and financial terms are not being disclosed, he said.

The Oddpost service works using Dynamic HTML, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). It does not use Java and requires no downloads or plug-ins. It currently works only with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, although Oddpost had been developing a version for Mozilla, Schneider said.

Oddpost stopped accepting new subscribers last week. Current users can keep using the service and will be switched to the new Yahoo Mail service when it's completed, Oddpost said in its posting. Schneider wouldn't say how many subscribers Oddpost has. The company also licences its technology to enterprise software vendors including Oracle Corp., which uses it in the Oracle Collaboration Suite, he said.

Yahoo's acquisition comes at a time of heated competition in the Web-based e-mail market. Google Inc. spiced things up earlier this year when it announced its Gmail service, which is currently being tested and offers 1G-byte of storage. Yahoo responded last month by revamping its user interface and upping its own storage limit to 100M bytes for its free service. Its purchase of Oddpost seems likely to spark another round of innovation.

Oddpost's history, recounted on its Web site, reads like a Silicon Valley fairy tale. In late 2000, founders Ethan Diamond and Iain Lamb bought a pair of cheap laptops, signed up for a wireless Internet service and "started coding away in San Francisco's public libraries, cafes, and late-night eateries." They eventually moved to an office, a former hardware store in San Francisco's Chinatown district.

"Our goal was to build a better e-mail product, and as we started building a business, we were able to grow and we brought in some investors," Schneider said. "The goal was to keep growing until somebody came along that made a lot of sense, and that's what happened with Yahoo."

Oddpost's posting to its users about the acquisition is in the form of an FAQ (frequently asked questions). It reads in part:

"So what you're saying is that Oddpost is disappearing into the bowels of corporate America?"

"On the contrary: our technology will flourish like a palm tree and/or IT professional's waistline in Silicon Valley. While the glory of Oddpost has, thus far, been witnessed by the eyes of an enlightened few, soon it will be savored by millions. We couldn't be more excited."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?