Yahoo acquires tiny mobile video-chat startup OnTheAir

Buyout of five-person company appears to be geared toward beefing up the Web pioneer's engineering ranks rather than getting a hold of the startup's technology.

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Steven Musil
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Continuing CEO Marissa Mayer's march toward all things mobile, Yahoo has acquired tiny mobile video-chat startup OnTheAir.

Yahoo snapped up the San Francisco-based startup today, the five-employee company announced on its Web site. Yahoo confirmed the acquisition, its second since Mayer took over as chief executive this past July.

"When we first met with the team at Yahoo, it was clear that everybody there is committed to making mobile products the backbone for the world's daily habits," the company wrote.

The mobile market is growing rapidly, and Mayer has said the space is integral to Yahoo's future growth.

"Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy," she said during a quarterly earnings conference call, adding that one-half of the company's technical work force will one day be working on mobile.

Neither company revealed the financial terms for the acquisition of OnTheAir, which lets users conduct video chats in talk show format. Yahoo also did not say whether it would discontinue the service, as it did with Stamped, a recommendations engine built by former Google colleagues of Mayer that Yahoo acquired in October.

Like its "acqu-hire" of Stamped, this acquisition appears to be geared more toward snagging engineering talent than technology. In addition to one former Google employee, OnTheAir's team includes former employees of Apple and instant messaging service Meebo.

"Hiring the most talented mobile product thinkers and engineers is a big priority for us moving forward," Adam Cahan, Yahoo's senior vice president of emerging products and technology, said in a statement.