'Yahoo! Everywhere' - sound familiar?

Yahoo! is joining forces with Online Anywhere -- a US start-up funded by Motorola -- to extend its reach beyond PCs to hand-helds and television-based Internet appliances in a move that mimics portal rival AOL.

The deal was signed on Monday and will allow Yahoo! content to be reformatted and delivered to televisions, PDAs and wireless devices.

The resemblance to rival ISP America Online's "AOL Anywhere" is more than a passing one according to industry watchers. Andy Greenman, analyst with the Yankee group believes it is a very similar venture but without the backing of Sun he believes AOL maintains an advantage in the content delivery space. "Those in the content business need to run services across all distribution platforms. The important thing is in the implementation and the relationship with hardware and software vendors. In this AOL remain very well placed," he said.

The "AOL Anywhere" and "Yahoo! Everywhere" strategies are timely ones according to Greenman. "PC penetration has virtually reached saturation and there will always be a proportion of people who don't want PCs. They will be buying wireless PDAs and set top boxes," he said. It is these audiences Yahoo and AOL are now going after, Greenman said.