Be it an act of desperation, a shedding of excess baggage, or the ire of an activist new leader, Yahoo unloaded some weight this week. In an effort to start the new year off fresh, the company announced its retirement of ten mobile apps with the promise to replace the well with something, supposedly, even better. Believe it when we see it?
Some are calling it difficult, but necessary, yet the news with Yahoo this week likely arrives at the impetus of a newly appointed CEO aiming to begin his reign with a clean slate. Eliminating the disposable — 'pulling the weeds' — Yahoo discontinued a handful of its least successful, most overlooked apps in a seemingly paradoxical attempt to shift focus towards the growing mobile market, along with social TV.
Among the dearly departed: Yahoo! Meme (iPad and iPhone); Yahoo! Mim (iPad); Yahoo! Answers (Android); Yahoo! AppSpot (Android and iPhone); Yahoo! Deals (iPhone); Yahoo! Finance (BlackBerry); Yahoo! Movies (Android); Yahoo! News (Android); Yahoo! Shopping (iPhone) and Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search (iPad and iPhone).
Yahoo comments specifically on its blog,
We’ve got some amazing mobile experiences, from News, Sports and Finance, to Mail, Messenger and entirely new products like IntoNow and Livestand. Our commitment is to deliver these products in ways that help all of our users (and advertisers) enjoy engaging and seamless experiences across all the devices they use. Our plan is to keep moving, to keep innovating, and to continuously measure and scrutinize what’s working and what isn’t – so we can make room for great new products.”
Nevertheless, the irony was not lost on those closely scrutinizing the declining company's attempt at gaining headway against its superpower competitor, Google. Given the apps mostly pertain to business and financial demographics, the move could be interpreted as a departure from those portals to an outreach of the hipper, more creative realms. PaidContent also acknowledges the fact Yahoo’s shopping apps have all but been swept under the rug by more successful channels, such as Twitter or Groupon.
The Final Straw
However you take it, something had to be done. The app reduction adds to other advancements made towards the end of last year, including the addition of an HTML5 development toolkit; the acquisition of Interclick; and a joint endeavor with AOL and Microsoft in a display advertising agreement.
While Yahoo may have been debating where to concentrate its efforts, the app reorganization this week makes a direct statement on the matter. Along with a concerted call towards content, it’s looking like this is the year the company takes a larger stake in mobile, advancing with the "appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness."
Regarding the deceased, the family prefers charitable donations in lieu of flowers or cards.