Yahoo acquire Maktoob to block Google influence in Middle East?

Maktoob Logo In a strategic move to increase its presence in rapidly evolving Arab internet world, Yahoo! has announced to acquired, the largest Arab web portal and online community and Maktoob Research.

The deal would be closed within the fourth quarter of this year, when Yahoo! is expected to begin translating its products into Arabic as it integrates its services with Maktoob’s products. Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger, two of the most popular services offered by Yahoo!, will be the first ones to be translated. The new services will then be co-branded as Yahoo! Maktoob.

Yahoo! is looking to increase its user base to 600 million and is has taken a leap by increasing it by 20 million users that Maktoob has in the Arab region. The international technology company will be able to tap into markets that have a combined population of over 320 million Arab speakers, but a very low internet penetration rate, leaving significant room for growth.

Maktoob’s 20 million users in the region, combined with most of Yahoo’s 44 million users in the Middle East and Africa regions could be reached through one portal once the deal is closed.

PC Magazine adds:

For existing Maktoob members, Yahoo will roll out a way to for registered users to access Yahoo in the coming months. Yahoo has not released information on what Web site address the combined Yahoo-Maktoob will use. The company will offer localized e-mail domains, but details on that have also not been released.

It is to be remembered that now Microsoft is on the back of Yahoo! and acquisition of Maktoob and provision of Yahoo! search and mail services to Arabic user base can be an attempt to thwart Google presence in MENA region.