Yahoo buys most of Meedio's technology

Yahoo has acquired Meedio in an apparent attempt to bolster its ability to provide Yahoo services via television sets.

Yahoo has acquired most of the technology from Meedio, which makes software that turns PCs into DVRs (digital video recorders) and digital media organizers and links them with television sets, Meedio announced on Monday.

The technology acquisition seems intended to bolster the TV component of the Yahoo Go initiative to provide the company's online services via multiple devices, such as TVs and mobile phones.

Meedio's products include Meedio Essentials, a media center application that lets users organize digital photos, music and movies on their PCs and access them via a TV using a remote control. Meedio Essentials also provides weather information, maps, news and games and can be extended with add-ons created by third-party developers. Meedio also makes Meedio TV, which turns PCs into digital video recorders and includes features for storing and organizing recorded programs.

The Meedio deal will let Yahoo further its goal of extending its reach beyond the browser and onto "the connected devices throughout consumers' lives," a Yahoo spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail message.

Earlier this year, Yahoo made a big splash with the introduction of its Yahoo Go initiative, whose goal is to extend the access to Yahoo online services and content beyond the PC to other devices. The TV portion of Yahoo Go isn't available yet, but Yahoo has said it will allow access from TVs to photo albums, online radio stations, music clips, as well as search for video on the Web. Yahoo does have an existing agreement with TiVo, the popular provider of DVR devices and services, to let TiVo subscribers access Yahoo services through the TiVo TV-based interface.

As a result of the technology acquisition, Meedio is changing its name to PsyKoh and several top executives, including Chief Executive Officer David Brott and Chief Technical Officer Pablo Pissanetzky will join Yahoo's Digital Home unit, according to a note Pissanetzky posted on Meedio's Web site.

Meedio's management agreed to the Yahoo deal because they concluded Meedio lacked the resources to continue developing its technology and saw a good fit with Yahoo, he wrote. "We are thrilled at the opportunity to put the Meedio idea together with the Yahoo experience and bring it to millions of people all around the world," he wrote.

Meanwhile, the deal might be at least a temporary letdown for existing Meedio customers, because the company is rolling back support and services. For example, Meedio will provide the electronic programming guide for its DVR service only through July 1. And effective now, users will no longer be able to download or buy Meedio products from the company's Web site and the Meedio Support Center is closing.

Yahoo bought most of Meedio's technology and intellectual property, but not the actual products, so existing Meedio customers should direct inquiries to the e-mail address support@psykoh.com, Pissanetzky wrote. "I am really looking forward to being able to bring you more cool products from Yahoo. This is a beginning, not an end," he wrote.

Meedio Essentials sold for US$29.99, while Meedio TV cost US$24.99. The two applications could also be bought in a bundle called Meedio Pro, which cost US$44.95.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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