Yesterday we saw some news that Yahoo is discontinuing Yahoo Go. In case you did not know, Go is a mobile application for mail, news and other assorted Yahoo services. This is a logical move, and Yahoo admitted as much:
The reasoning behind shutting down Go is simple, says Yahoo. As Yahoo unrolls individual apps in verticals and boosts its mobile site, Go was becoming obsolete.
By itself, this is not big news. However, it was about a year ago that I talked about how Yahoo Needs Focus. This was still during Jerry Yang’s leadership and Yahoo looked like they were floundering. Like many people, I called for a change in leadership specifically someone confident and vocal:
The new leader must be charismatic and vocal. I am not talking “foot in mouth” vocal like Steve Ballmer, just someone who can talk to the media and give them a solid idea of where Yahoo is going. Someone who can tell the media not to worry about potential mergers, but that the real story is what they are doing to survive and grow.
For better or worse, we now have Carol “Let me drop an f-bomb” Bartz. She fits this entire description, except for the “what are they doing to survive and grow” part. Yes, they finally did the search deal with Microsoft and they are trying to convey that they are a content company. But, you still do not get a good idea of what they are trying to do to grow.
One thing they have done is slowly slimmed the number of services they offer. Here is a quote from last year:
If you go to the full list of “services”, you see an incredible list. If you are trying to trim down expenses and run a lean organization, there is no way you can support these 104 services. Every letter in the alphabet, except Q, is represented. That is ridiculous.
And here is the original image of that page:
And here is an image of the current page:
As you can see, the services list has definitely changed. There are now 88 services listed, a decrease in 16 services or 15%. That is a decent decrease, but probably not enough yet. Some of the changes were more organizational in nature, but there were some high profile cuts like 360, Geocities, Live and Jumpcut.
However, if you look closely at the current list of services, there are probably several more that can be removed or merged with other offerings. Did you know that Yahoo has a Bookmarks service? I am not talking about Delicious, this is a completely different service. One thing you will notice is that many of the services are geared towards content or the basic personal mail, calendar, contacts services. There are a few that do not quite fit with this model. First, MyBlogLog barely fits with what Yahoo is doing. I am not sure what the future is of services like MyBlogLog, but it should be folded into the rest of the social services Yahoo is starting to focus on.
Upcoming is another service that fits only because it is a nice social service. If you are trying to focus Yahoo on content, then Upcoming should probably be spun into its own entity again or just sold. There is a benefit to having that type of information available, so a partnership to pull events into a user’s calendar in some way would be a good compromise. Lastly, Delicious is another social service that barely fits with the content model. Both Upcoming and Delicious have fairly solid brand names and could probably do well on their own.
Over the past year, Yahoo has done a lot of housecleaning, and seems to be in a better position. They really cleaned up some services that just were not gaining enough attention. This is a very good start, and it will be interesting to see what else they do. Are there other services you think they should shut down or sell?
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