TAIWAN: Yahoo-Kimo Inc announces tie-up with Mozilla

All popular local services from the search engine will be offered in merge set to draw Taiwanese web users to Firefox browser

Taipei Times
Thursday, July 10, 2008

By Elizabeth Tchii

Yahoo-Kimo Inc announced a partnership with Mozilla Online Ltd yesterday, allowing Taiwanese users to download an exclusive browser -- Firefox 3.0 Yahoo-Kimo Edition -- which opens up to the Yahoo Search engine on its homepage.

The launch of the new Firefox browser service is part of Yahoo-Kimo's efforts to introduce user-friendly services in the past two years, that included Yahoo Widget in April 2006, the Yahoo mini-pen in December and the Yahoo key in May.

"Our goal is to provide the best Yahoo-Kimo services and the best content to Firefox users so they can enjoy a high-quality Internet experience," Rose Tsou, Yahoo Inc's managing director for the Asia region, said at a press conference yesterday.

By following Yahoo Headquarters' "Start Point" and "Open" initiatives, Yahoo-Kimo made the decision to add all the popular local services for Taiwanese users to the Firefox browser.

Gong Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Mozilla Online Ltd, said: "Yahoo-Kimo has taken a leading position on the island. Its local services are the most popular, so the cooperation between both sides is set to draw as much attention as possible from local users to Firefox."

Firefox holds 20 percent of the global browser market and 10 percent market share in Taiwan. Whether its collaboration with Yahoo-Kimo will boost the browser's popularity, however, remains to be seen.

Lai Fei-pei, chairman of Taiwan Network Information Center, viewed the collaboration as a merging of resources between the two sides, but said it would take time before it was known whether users were comfortable with the new system.

"When it comes to search engines, it is a matter of personal preference. Yahoo has become the No. 1 search engine in Taiwan because it was first to market here. Yahoo-Kimo understands the Taiwanese market well," Lai told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview yesterday.

Sources at Taipei-based market researcher Market Intelligence Center echoed Lai's views, saying that the success of this collaboration would depend heavily on the number of Taiwanese Firefox browser users and how many of them would switch over to Yahoo-Kimo.

Google ranks No. 2 in Taiwan's search engine war. It lags behind its counterpart by between 5 percent and 10 percent, but has been closing the gap, Lai said.

Firefox 3.0 Yahoo-Kimo edition is available for download for Windows users only. The Firefox browser tabs are preset, but the links are fully customizable.

The browser/search engine is not like an iGoogle homepage. Moreover, as Yahoo-Kimo Firefox 3.0 is not portable, access to certain news sites, blogs and tools on public computers may be limited.