Yahoo slims down, again, trashing Deals, SMS Alerts

The products are axed as part of Yahoo's larger rebuilding plan

Yahoo is giving itself a bit of a makeover. Earlier last week it launched two new mobile apps for email and weather; now it's ditching numerous longstanding products, including Deals and SMS Alerts, in an attempt to sharpen its focus.

Effective April 30, the following products will be no more: Upcoming, an event discovery service; Deals, for finding bargains, coupons and retail sales; SMS Alerts, which lets users stay up-to-date on a slew of topics; Kids, which features games and educational resources; and Yahoo's Mail and Messenger apps for feature phones.

Also, as of June 3, the older versions of Yahoo Mail, including Yahoo Mail Classic, will no longer be available, the company said. In their stead, users can switch to Yahoo's new Mail system, "which is fast and easier to use," Yahoo said.

The moves are all part of the company's ongoing efforts to restructure its product offerings in a bid to re-engage users in an era of smartphones, always-connected mobile devices and social apps. Yahoo, unlike Google, Facebook, Twitter or Apple, does not currently have any dedicated social network or mobile devices of its own.

Still, the company is committed to demonstrating value to users, even when it means getting rid of less popular products. Just last month, Yahoo also scrapped more than half a dozen other media products, including Avatars, Yahoo Clues and Yahoo Sports IQ.

"Like we announced last month, we want to bring you experiences that inspire and entertain you every day," Yahoo's Jay Rossiter, executive vice president, platforms, wrote in a blog post. "That means taking a hard look at all of our products to make sure they are still central to your daily habits," he wrote.

And, "by making tough decisions like these we can focus our energy on building beautiful products for you like the two we introduced this week," he added. Those two, the Weather app for iPhone, iPod and iPod Touch, and the Mail app for iPad and Android tablets, were unveiled Thursday. Both apps are designed to provide a cleaner, more visually engaging experience than what users may have been used to previously.

Yahoo's efforts may be paying off. On Twitter, some users have already fully embraced the new mobile weather app.

"Yahoo's iPhone weather app is beautiful, love that Marissa Mayer is raising the bar," one person tweeted on Friday.

Yahoo is currently in the "second sprint" of its rebuilding efforts, Yahoo CEO Mayer said during the company's first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. The first sprint was to improve Yahoo's in-house talent; now the company is focused on winning back users with new products and boosting its revenue in the process.

Mobile, in particular, will be a top priority for Yahoo in 2013, Mayer said earlier this week.

But Yahoo is also looking to improve some of the products it already has. In February, the company rolled out a revamped version of its homepage featuring what the company is calling an "infinite news feed," which continuously scrolls down with a string of stories. The page also employs larger photos and a personalized news feed.

Facebook's recently redesigned News Feed offers some similar features.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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