Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Yahoo Mulling Buy of Address Book App Maker Xobni

Yahoo is in serious discussions to buy Xobni, maker of address book apps and plugins, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The two companies have been talking for a while, but a deal appears more imminent now, the sources said. Of course, these things are never final until they’re final.

Xobni could be a fit for Yahoo’s mail and productivity tools, as it neatly creates automated profiles for each email contact with correspondence history and social network data.

Xobni has raised more than $40 million, but it has never had massive success. Backers included Y Combinator (where the company was one of the earliest participants), Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Atomico, Baseline Ventures and Cisco.

Yahoo declined to comment, and Xobni did not return requests for comment.

Xobni CEO Jeff Bonforte had previously been a Yahoo executive in charge of communications products and social search from 2005 to 2008. Not that the Yahoo of 2008 had much leadership in common with the Yahoo of today, but it would be sort of like coming back to the mother ship.

Way back in the day, Xobni had reportedly walked away from a deal to be acquired by Microsoft for approximately $20 million in 2008.

Since then, Xobni expanded from making just an Outlook plugin to supporting Gmail, Yahoo Mail and iCloud, and it created its Smartr Contacts apps for Android and iPhone.

Meanwhile, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is on an acquisitive streak. She bought a bunch of mobile app companies — though only spent $16 million for the bunchSummly for $30 million, and Tumblr for $1.1 billion. And there’s persistent chatter that she’s looking at Foursquare, as well.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus