Seriously, how long has it been since you used a physical phone book? Yeah, not often. It’s kind of like my AAA car club card – I rarely use it, but when I need it, it’s nice to have right there. I looked in my phone book drawer, and the most recent phone book (there are three in my little area! THREE!) is 2009!
So where am I going with this, and what does it have to do with mobility? Well, because of the profitableness of mobility, and the lack of profitability of phone books, AT&T is selling a majority stake in the Real Yellow Pages to the private equity firm of Cerberus Capital. The going price? $950 million.
According to NPR, the Yellow Pages business shrunk 30% in the last two years, with the last profitable year being three years ago.
So what’s being sold? The Yellow and White pages, their associated webpages, and the mobile app(s). Last year, that accounted for 3% of AT&T’s business.
Verizon spun off their phone book business in 2006. The end result? Bankruptcy filings in 2009. That’s probably not a good sign.
I’d go get that app for your phone, if it’s available, right now. Because next time your power goes out, and you need to look up a phone number, you won’t have the book or the ability to look up www.yellowpages.com on your desktop; your phone will be the only way out.