Yahoo has just announced a change in strategy designed to prep it for the mobile age and let it concentrate on core products like the Mail and Weather apps it launched yesterday. Soon, it will shut down Upcoming, Deal, SMS Alerts, Yahoo Kids, Yahoo! Mail and Messenger feature phone (J2ME) apps, and some older versions of Yahoo! Mail. People simply don’t have the bandwidth for dozens of apps, so best to do a few well.
When I spoke to Yahoo earlier this year, representatives mentioned the company had over 80 mobile apps. Yet I know few people with any from Yahoo on their homescreen. That’s the real estate that truly matters, so cutting the fat and focusing on where it can really be best in class seems like a smart move.
On April 30th, many of this round will go dark. As for the details, Upcoming and its API will shut down and you can download your info here. Deals will close but you can save your coupons first. SMS Alerts will stop but you can follow Yahoo’s various news sites with its mobile apps, or set up email alerts through Yahoo Messenger. Kids, formerly Yahooligans, but kids under 13 can still get a Yahoo ID through the Family Accounts program. Feature phone (J2ME) versions of Mail and Messenger will close, but you can still use the mobile web versions of Mail and Messenger, or download the native apps.
As for older versions of Yahoo Mail including Yahoo Mail Classic, they will close starting the week of June 3rd. Yahoo encourages people to switch to the new Mail product, and to use the HTML only / basic version if you’re on a slow connection, dial-up, or old browser. Yahoo also offers a Mail migration program.
The question now is what about Yahoo’s bigger products that don’t perform as well, such as Search and Maps. I heard rumors soon after Marissa Mayer took charge that she was not interested in competing with Google’s far superior maps product anymore. That means this could be just the first wave of shut downs.