|Defunct||January 31, 2023|
|Headquarters||Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
|Ahmed Nassef, MD/VP, Yahoo! Middle East|
Yahoo! Maktoob (Arabic: مكتوب) was an online services company founded in Amman (Jordan). Maktoob.com was known as the first Arabic–English email service provider. In 2009, Yahoo! acquired Maktoob.com, making it Yahoo!'s official arm in the MENA region. As of January 31 2023, Yahoo! Maktoob has been shut down; and therefore no longer publishes content.
This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (July 2022)
Maktoob was founded in 1999 by Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury who introduced a webmail service with Arabic support for emails when no other free email service had such support. They also helped users who did not have Arabic keyboards or browsers that support Arabic to send and receive emails by using a virtual keyboard which was done in Java and using Java applets that had better Arabic support.
The initial flourish of Maktoob and its large user base led the company to create several services and content channels for Arab users, many of which were not found previously in Arabic format. Chatting, Greeting Cards, and simple content channels were the first to be developed internally. Since then, Maktoob diversified its services through both acquisitions and internal development to have close to 40 different channels and services.
CashU was founded to address the issue of electronic payments in the region, and Souq.com as an auction -and marketplace; Tahadi.com was founded to provide MMO/MMORPG games for Middle East internet users, Araby.com was an Arabic Search engine; Maktoob Research was a successful online research service founded by Tamara Deprez; and Sukar.com the first and biggest online private shopping club in the Middle East, founded by Saygin Yalcin.
Abraaj Capital acquisition
In June 2005, the UAE-based private equity house Abraaj Capital purchased 40% of the company shares in a $5 million deal. The rationale for such an acquisition (according to Abraaj's website) was that Maktoob has a large user base (claimed to be more than 4 million) and, according to marketing literature, "a dominant online payment option cashU and a strong brand name. It has established the first Arab online auction site Souq.com which will benefit from leveraging the large community network."
In April 2006, Maktoob acquired 80% of the popular Arab sports website Sport4ever.com.
In January 2015, Yahoo! let go half of its staff in Dubai, and it announced in December 2015 the closure of its office in Dubai, its last office in the MENA region. The move was an attempt to "streamline" Yahoo's international operations.
The Yahoo! acquisition of Maktoob remains one of the biggest acquisitions in the region. Yahoo!'s money made it possible for Souq.com to develop and reach a $1 billion valuation.
Yahoo! Maktoob provides the following online services: News (Yahoo! Maktoob News), sports news (Yahoo! Maktoob Sport), a blogging platform (Yahoo! Maktoob Blog), a social network (Yahoo! Maktoob As7ab Maktoob), a bilingual online research community (Yahoo! Maktoob Research), a marriage portal (Yahoo! Maktoob Bentelhalal), a travel portal (Yahoo! Maktoob Travel) and a casual gaming platform (Yahoo! Maktoob Games).
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