Yahoo kills a product that was once called 'a milestone in the history of the internet'

Marissa mayerREUTERS/Denis BalibouseMarissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo, Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014, attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2014.

Under CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo has decided that the three major parts of its business are search, communications, and digital content. That means all of Yahoo’s services outside of those areas are at risk of being cut.

Today, Yahoo announced it’s axing some less popular products in a blog entry by Yahoo Chief Architect Amotz Maimon.

Most heartbreakingly for a lot of developers, Yahoo Pipes is getting shut down at the end of August. Yahoo Pipes is a service that let people build custom web applications that could pull in all kinds of data from all over the Internet. 

When Pipes launched back in 2007, it was widely heralded as ahead of its time. Tech expert Tim O’Reilly called Pipes “a milestone in the history of the internet.” It was sort of a precursor to Mashery, which helps companies manage and blend data from different sources (including public web sources), and If This Then That (ifttt), which lets people create simple “recipes” like “text me the weather every morning” by combining different data sources and apps.

But Yahoo never seemed to know what to do with it, it never got as many users as the company would have liked, and so now it’s going to be cut.

Other products on the chopping block include:

  •  Yahoo Maps, which will close at the end of June.
  • The GeoPlanet and PlaceSpotter APIs, tools that Yahoo gave developers to integrate maps into their application.
  • You will no longer be able to get Yahoo Mail from older iPhones or Yahoo contacts from older Macs, either. 

Yahoo is an old company, by web standards. During its long identity crisis, it threw a lot of stuff at the wall just to see what worked, even if it wasn’t very good. CEO Marissa Meyer gets a lot of credit for helping the company finally figure out a way forward by focusing on just the stuff it’s good at.

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