Yahoo's head of mobile takes on new duties

The top executive for Yahoo's Mobile business will now also run content services like Yahoo News and Sports

Yahoo has given the head of its mobile division broader responsibilities, in a sign that the search provider plans to focus even more on mobile opportunities.

David Ko, formerly senior vice president for Yahoo Mobile, is now senior vice president of audience and mobile for Yahoo in North America, the company said.

In his expanded role, Ko will run the development of Yahoo’s leading audience properties including News, Sports, Finance and Entertainment. He will also draw on his mobile experience to help Yahoo more tightly integrate mobile into the rest of the company, it said.

Ko has been with Yahoo for nine years, including a stint as managing director and vice president for Yahoo’s Asia Pacific mobile business. His biography on Yahoo’s Web site has not yet been updated to reflect his new position.

Ko’s promotion may indicate that Yahoo is pleased with the direction he has set for the company’s mobile business and that Yahoo is serious about growing its mobile operations.

At the CTIA conference in San Diego in October, Ko said that Yahoo’s mobile strategy was different from that of competitors like Google and Microsoft, and that its strategy seemed to be paying off.

While Google and Microsoft offer mobile-phone operating systems that could compete with potential partners, Yahoo doesn’t intend to build a phone or phone OS or get into providing mobile access, he said at the time. Instead, Yahoo will continue partnering with players in the mobile market, delivering mobile applications and generating revenue through advertising.

Yahoo’s deals with more than 100 operators and phone makers generate a tremendous amount of traffic for the company, Ko said in October. Those deals typically involve placing a Yahoo search bar on the home screen of a phone or including other Yahoo software on phones.

Yahoo also intends to continue to focus on Asia Pacific and emerging markets, where people are far more likely to have a mobile phone than a PC, he said.

The battle for mindshare among mobile users has grown increasingly intense as companies that started out delivering software and services to PCs look to the mobile environment for new revenue streams. Yahoo began offering mobile applications and content early on and has continued to do so, in competition with Microsoft, Google and others.

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