Mobile Digest: Verizon mops up the Yahoo! mess for $4.83 billion

The year-long debacle of Yahoo! trying to sell off its mobile assets is over. Verizon is the (lucky?) winner. Andrew Tolve reports.

In the news

After years of speculation, Yahoo! sold off its mobile, advertising, content and search assets for $4.83 billion to Verizon. That's a paltry sum compared to the $125 billion that the Dot-Com boom darling  was valued at at the close of the 20th century.

The story of what went wrong between then and now is long and winding, but most would agree that Yahoo's demise boils down to a glaring inability to recognize and then respond to the mobile revolution -- and specifically people's preference for apps over gargantuan web portals. Let it be a cautionary tale to all those mobile giants out there today, that other platforms and paradigm shifts are on the way.

Verizon says that it plans to fuse Yahoo with another one of its recent acquirements, AOL, to build a leading mobile media company.

In the money

Salesforce.com purchased word processing startup Quip for $582 million. Quip is like Microsoft Word meets Google Docs, a cloud-based application optimized for mobile platforms. Half a billion may sound like a lot to pay for that, but as enterprise platforms like Salesforce race to integrate cloud-based collaboration tools, seemingly no price tag is too steep.

In other news

It was a busy, if bizarre, few weeks in the ridesharing world. The Chinese government, which has made it a nightmare for companies like Uber to operate, made the surprising move to legalize ridesharing and decree a set of regulations governing its operations: drivers must have a driving license for at least three years and no criminal or drunk driving background. The move was seen as a major boost for Uber, which has lost a billion dollars in China each of the last two years.

Uber hailed the decision as a major breakthrough, then turned around and announced that it was selling its entire Chinese division to its chief competitor, Didi Chuxing. Uber will get one fifth of all future Didi profits, so it's not a total loss, but still a shocker to see a global juggernaut like Uber concede failure in one of the world's biggest and highest-growth-potential markets.

Uber also announced that it will invest $500,000 in its own mapping endeavors, in an effort to reduce its dependence on Google Maps and spur future self-driving car capabilities. Uber mapping cars will hit the streets of Mexico this summer, and will continue to crisscross the U.S. as they have been doing since 2015.

Apple sold its one billionth iPhone, a monumental milestone for the device that launched the smartphone revolution back in 2007. Nonetheless, little doubt Apple CEO Tim Cook would have traded it for a better Q3 earnings report. For the second straight quarter, Apple's revenue was down from the year before, this time 13% (from $49.6 billion to $42.36 billion).

The U.S. government and Google parent company Alphabet are partnering up to test commercial drone deliveries in the U.S. The White House announced that it would give Alphabet's "Project Wing" drone program carte blanche to gather data on drone cargo delivery operations. Federal regulators will use the data to craft new policies around the fledgling market where alphabet is expected to compete with the likes of Amazon, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service.

BlackBerry unveiled "the world's most secure Android smartphone." It's called the DTEK50, and it comes loaded with encryption capabilities for all enterprise and consumer data on the phone. If the DTEK50 flounders like its Android predecessor the Priv, expect to see BlackBerry exit the hardware business altogether. Retail set for $299.

Finally, Pokémon Go keeps on shattering records. In its first month of business, Pokémon Go surpassed 100 million installs and $160 million in renenue, according to app research firm App Annie. Daily revenue is now averaging north of $10 million.