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Yahoo! Arabic services available by early-2010

VP does not indicate if services will be based in Amman following Maktoob purchase

VP does not indicate if services will be based in Amman following Maktoob purchase.
VP does not indicate if services will be based in Amman following Maktoob purchase.

Keith Nilsson, senior vice president of international emerging markets at Yahoo! confirmed on Wednesday that Arabic services for Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! search engine will be activated in early 2010.

But Nilsson did not confirm to the Jordan Times whether the services will be based in Amman or not, following Tuesday’s purchase of Amman-based web portal, Maktoob.com.

World Bank figures show that while there are more than 320 million Arabic speakers globally, only one percent of online content is Arabic.

Nilsson noted that lack of content is not unique to the Arab world and is the case in all emerging markets.

"We will work together to improve the Arabic content," he told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s purchase of Maktoob marks the first major foray into the Middle East by Yahoo.

The company has made assurances that it is aware of local sensitivities and laws and will maintain Maktoob's editorial policy.

Maktoob co-founder, Samih Toukan, has said the synergies between the companies are enormous. "Yahoo! investments in coming years will energise Maktoob and make it grow further," he said.