Yahoo pays $30-million for an iPhone app that has no revenue and is made by a teenager and this is what counts as product buzz at the $25-billion internet giant? That is not to say the backstory is uninteresting. Nick D’Aloisio as a boy in London teaches himself to code. He then invents a program called Summly that truncates news articles for the impatient mobile phone set. Later the free-to-download program quickly attracts some glittering backers and ultimately 1 million downloads.
雅虎(Yahoo)斥资3000万美元,买下一位少年编写的尚未产生任何收入的iPhone应用。在这个市值250亿美元的互联网巨头眼中,这个小产品的价值真有这么高?这并不是说这一收购的幕后故事乏味无趣。伦敦少年尼克•达洛伊西奥(Nick D'Aloisio)通过自学学会了编程。他设计了一款名为Summly的程序,它可以替那些缺乏耐心的移动电话人群将新闻截短。这款免费下载的程序很快吸引了一些成功人士,下载量最终达到了100万。

But Yahoo plans to shutter the app so why pay $30-million or $30 per user? (Recall a year ago Facebook paid roughly that price per user – $1-billion in total – for the photo app Instagram that also lacked revenue but did represent a growing and passionate community). For one, Yahoo gets the summarisation algorithm that Mr D’Aloisio created with SRI International, the Silicon Valley lab that had originated the Siri personal assistant technology embedded in iPhones. Yahoo also gets the services of Mr D’Aloisio for the next 18 months. Mostly, it gets to show momentum in mobile technology to users and investors, but also to the developer talent that must believe working for Yahoo is as cool as working at Google or Twitter or any currently unknown pre-IPO start-up.
不过,雅虎既然打算关闭该应用的下载,那为什么还要为它支付3000万美元,或者说为每个用户掏30美元?记得一年前Facebook购买照片应用Instagram时,也差不多为每个用户支付了这么多(总计10亿美元)——Instagram同样没什么收益,但代表了一个不断成长而且充满活力的网络社区。雅虎收购的一个原因在于,可以得到达洛伊西奥与斯坦福国际咨询研究所(SRI International)共同开发的摘要算法。斯坦福国际咨询研究所正是那家发明嵌入iPhone的Siri个人助理技术的硅谷实验室。另外,雅虎还将获得达洛伊西奥未来18个月的服务。最重要的是,通过这一收购,雅虎不仅向用户和投资者,还向那些开发人才展示出雅虎发展移动技术的强大动力,它希望让这些开发人才相信,为雅虎工作与为谷歌(Google)、推特(Twitter)或任何还不知名的未上市创业公司工作一样酷。

Yahoo’s struggles in traditional internet search and advertising are well-documented but with the mobile environment still up for grabs, it has the chance to redeem itself there. The company does have strong content portfolio and its 186 million U.S. monthly unique visitors, according to comScore, surprisingly is ahead of Facebook and only slightly trails Google. And the stock is up 50 per cent since Marissa Mayer took the helm in July (though half of its equity value is tied to non-core Asian investments). It could be time to consider buying one of those web or mobile players, say Hulu, run by a full-fledged grown-up.
雅虎在传统互联网搜索与广告领域遭遇的困境已无需赘述。但移动领域目前仍处于群雄逐鹿的状态,雅虎有机会在这一领域一雪前耻。雅虎的内容组合十分出色。根据comScore的数据,其在美国每月1.86亿的独立访客数令人惊异地超过了Facebook,只比谷歌低一点。自梅里莎•梅尔(Marissa Mayer)去年7月份掌舵以来,雅虎股价已经上涨了50%(尽管其市值中有一半与非核心业务的亚洲投资关系密切)。如今,收购一个由成熟的成年人运营的互联网或移动领域公司,比如说Hulu,可能正是时候。