Yahoo! and AT&T have extended their current relationship (Yahoo! exclusive content and an optimized My Yahoo! portal are offered to AT&T broadband customers) to now also offer integrated voice services. The voice-enabled Yahoo! messenger will be offered free to AT&T broadband subscribers including voice mail and missed-call retrieval. More analysis is deserved here (and it will be coming) because of the conflict this could present to AT&T’s existing fixed line business.
There is also the far off possibility that this partnership could bring the voice-enabled Yahoo! messenger together with YellowPages.com to create click-to-call listings. This isn’t likely in the near future, but this partnership gets the two companies closer to such a scenerio. And again here, a conflict could arise with Yahoo!’s own local listings in Yahoo! local where it would presumably infuse click-to-call first.
In other AT&T news, the company has partnered with Vongo, Starz’ online video service, to bundle its content packages with AT&T broadband services. Like the above item, this could present an eventual conflict with AT&T’s own IPTV initiatives. More likely, it will end up being a content partnership, however, to boost AT&T’s video delivery efforts. Content aggregation will in fact be one of its biggest challenges in addition to infrastructure deployment and securing franchise rights.
Speaking of which, the battle to gain the right to acquire statewide franchise rights (rather than each individual municipality) is heating up for AT&T in California. The San Jose Mercury News explains the ins and outs, and more background can be gained from reading our past writing on the subject.
Lastly, the company announced this week at the National Association of Broadcaster show in Las Vegas that it will offer IPTV service in 20 additional markets by the end of the year. It currently only serves its hometown market of San Antonio, where it first began testing the service on a limited basis last year. More can be found here, including the projection by eMarketer that there will be 36.8 million worldwide IPTV subscribers in 2009 — an increase of 2.3 million from last year.