Yahoo! and Facebook End Patent Lawsuit, as Facebook Announces Expanded Ads Features for App Makers

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ADOTAS – Yahoo! and Facebook have settled their patent lawsuit, and now they’re back to being industry buds, with stated plans to strengthen ties through new advertising and distribution partnerships.

Yahoo! had sued Facebook back in  March for infringement of patents pertaining to advertising and social networking. However, as other media sources have reported, once the Yahoo! board booted Scott Thompson from the CEO position, interim CEO Ross Levinsohn and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg promptly entered talks to end the lawsuit. Now, according to a joint statement from the two companies, they’ll share a cross-licensed patent portfolio (the extent of which wasn’t specified) and cross-promote and distribute ads in conjunction with each other, and Yahoo! will integrate Facebook social sharing functions to help promote Yahoo’s media event coverage.

According to the statement, since Yahoo! integrated the Social Bar feature into its websites, over 90 million users around the world have used it, which would make Yahoo!, per the company’s own claims, the home of “the largest active user base among all news sites that have integrated with Facebook’s Open Graph platform, making Social Bar the world’s leading social news application.”

In other Facebook news, the Wall Street Journal reported today that the network had developed software to monitor (via Facebook Connect, the service that allows users to sign into a huge variety of websites with their Facebook logins) which apps users have downloaded, and to serve related ads to those users whether they’ve expressed interest in the advertised app or the company behind it elsewhere on the internet or not. The Journal reports, vaguely, that “some Facebook executives are concerned about a potential backlash over the new mobile ads from privacy advocates,” although it would seem that if those ads are targeted to Facebook Connect users — who have opted in to letting Facebook know certain things about what they’re up to on non-Facebook sites, as long as they’re logged in — those “privacy advocates” don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

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