Yahoo axes Maps, Pipes, other services as it narrows focus

Yahoo says it has a clear focus on search, communications, and digital content, and to keep that focus some older services must go.

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Yahoo says it’s all about search, communications, and digital content, and now a few of its older services must go. Caught up in Yahoo’s digital divide are people on aging iOS devices, some Mac OS X Lion users, fans of Yahoo Maps, and power users attached to Yahoo Pipes.

Sayonora iOS 4 and Mac OS X 10.7

Yahoo says it can no longer service the built-in mail app for iOS 4 and earlier. Anyone running that system will have to turn to Yahoo Mail’s web app. The company says it is doing this “in order to maintain focus on the security, speed, and functionality of Yahoo Mail on the latest systems.”

Also on the outs is support for syncing Yahoo contacts on Macs running OS X 10.7 Lion devices and earlier. Mac owners with 10.7 and earlier will also have to turn to the web to access their contacts stored with Yahoo.

Off the grid

Yahoo Maps is also set to vanish, and pretty quickly too. The company plans to shut down at the end of June. Even though the public-facing site is going away Yahoo’s mapping efforts will remain alive for other purposes. Flickr will still have maps support after June and several other unnamed Yahoo properties will also keep maps integration.

The Pipes run dry

Since 2007, Yahoo Pipes has been a convenient way to bring web content together. Based on the pipes concept from Unix-style command lines, Yahoo Pipes lets you create custom RSS feeds from multiple websites.

On August 30, Yahoo will no longer accept the creation of new Pipes, and a month later the service will stop working entirely. Anyone who uses Pipes will have until September 30, 2015, to get their data out.

Beyond those major changes, Yahoo also shut down a number of country-specific versions of its specialty websites, including Yahoo Autos, Yahoo Entertainment, Yahoo Movies, Yahoo Music, and Yahoo TV. The U.S. versions of all five of these properties remain untouched, while Canada is losing Yahoo Music and Yahoo TV.

The story behind the story: For years, Yahoo has been a confusing company to watch. It had no clear direction, but a lot of different services and content that attracted loyal followings. CEO Marissa Meyer is starting to give Yahoo more shape than it previously had with its “three pillars” of search, communications, and digital content. As Yahoo gets a clearer sense of where it’s headed this likely won’t be the company’s last major house cleaning.

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