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Yahoo Kills Flipboard Competitor Six Months After Debut 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-hardly-knew-you dept.
redletterdave writes "It seemed like a step in the right direction for Yahoo back in November, when the company announced a family of new mobile products that would enrich the way users experience and understand their news and entertainment content. But just shy of seven months after that outburst of mobile and social apps and tools, Yahoo has decided to call it quits on arguably the biggest piece of that mobile package: the personalized magazine app for iPad, Livestand. This was the first major business decision made by Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO who took over for Scott Thompson on May 13 after the SEC discovered Thompson lied on his resume."
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Yahoo Kills Flipboard Competitor Six Months After Debut

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  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @08:14PM (#40131255)

    This looks just like a "Hey! Imma doing something! Yay Me!" type move from Ross Levinsohn. I often find within the company that I work for, that when a project changes hands, the new Project Manager feels that he/she needs to stamp in some sort of "territory" so that they seem to be doing something. Sadly though, it also seems that many of these decisions are made without a full understanding of impacts and result in poor implementation. Given that these apps seemed to be at least getting Yahoo looking in the right direction, it seems a shame to see them canned. Given that Yahoo is in such a poor position at the moment, I don't think that a conservative approach is a good strategy for them at the moment - they need to be rolling the dice on long odds while they still have the money to be able to afford to do so. Give them a few more years of stagnation and their customers moving onto other products and they simply won't have the capital or time to find that "new big thing" that will ressurect them.

    • by Genda (560240)

      Yahoo should consider making disposable hybrid cars... or perhaps frozen fudgesicles... maybe even sportsware for little people.

      • by owlnation (858981)
        Sounds about right...

        I will never understand how Yahoo survived the first dot.com bubble. And every year since then, it's become even less clear as to how they are still around. Are they the new AOL? There seems to be a lot of similarities.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228)

          Because for normal folks (the non geeks out there) the Yahoo Portal has replaced the morning paper and the last figures i saw had yahoo mail as #1 in number of active users?

          Frankly Yahoo has a BUNCH of original content....that nobody knows about. Did you know that have over 70 categories on their portal, from comedy and horoscopes to fantasy football? I didn't, not until I hooked up with my current GF who uses the Yahoo portal as her home page and decided to check it out. Hell I've been using Yahoo mail as

    • by noh8rz3 (2593935)
      I reject the assertion that yahoo is just a bag of bones. I know many people at the company, and they are some of the most creative, energetic programmers that I have met. All the new management team needs to do is unlock the potential that exists within their own staff.
      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @09:07PM (#40131499)

        I reject the assertion that yahoo is just a bag of bones.

        They are losing market share, their name once used to be "God" on the mouth of the internet. Now look at what they are. Ask a 12 year old what Yahoo is, then ask about Google. They ARE a bag of bones.

        I know many people at the company, and they are some of the most creative, energetic programmers that I have met. All the new management team needs to do is unlock the potential that exists within their own staff.

        You realize that this is paraphrasing exactly what I said yes? A company the size of Yahoo will no doubt have plenty of creative and skilled people, but that doesn't mean a damn if the new CEO is killing off their ideas. I am saying that the company HAS to start implementing these ideas and letting them come to fruition so that if they gamble on 10 out-there ideas right now while they still have the money to do so, it might be enough to find the next new idea that bring Yahoo back to at least some of its former glory. All the brightest, most creative geniuses in a company mean nothing if their ideas aren't followed through.

        • by noh8rz3 (2593935)

          Ask a 12 year old what Google is, then ask about Facebook. They ARE a bag of bones.

          Ftfym

        • by Shoten (260439)

          I agree with Fluffeh. I can attest to all the incredibly creative and talented people I worked with at HP, to give another example. But the company was run like a case of AIDS, and so the efforts of those people have been pretty much for naught. There's a vast huge difference between having talented employees and being able to harness that talent effectively as a company. In some cases, you can even have a successful company for a while without many talented employees...that's how most ant colonies wor

        • by eulernet (1132389)

          All the brightest, most creative geniuses in a company mean nothing if their ideas aren't followed through.

          I totally agree with you.
          There are 2 more pernicious effects to killing projects:
          1) this sends a signal to all managers to focus on costs. So everybody just focus on reducing their budget and risks.
          All good ideas that would have been normally tested are buried, because it's too risky, or it costs some money.
          2) this sends a signal to all creative people: we don't care about your ideas.
          If you have good ideas, it's better that you don't propose them to us, because either we'll refuse them, or if it's an excell

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        I know many people at the company, and they are some of the most creative, energetic programmers that I have met.

        You mean creativity in killing projects that made sense ?

        Mind you, Livestand is not the only project that made a lot of sense that Yahoo has decided to kill, "Delicious" is another thing that Yahoo has killed

    • by Ritchie70 (860516)

      I wonder if you actually tried the app.

      As I recall, it is so slow as to be unusable on my iPad (original model) and crashes frequently.

      It deserves to die.

      • You solve that by making it faster and fixing bugs. The reason to retire an application is only if there isn't any market for it (it doesn't even need to be a big market, as it was already written).

        I won't second guess the current CEO. The former one wasn't much good, but he could have got that one thing right. Time will tell.

        • by digitig (1056110)

          You solve that by making it faster and fixing bugs. The reason to retire an application is only if there isn't any market for it (it doesn't even need to be a big market, as it was already written).

          Or if it isn't cost-effective to service that market. Whether the code is already written comes into that equation but it's not all of it. The company I work for withdrew a product simply because the cost of supporting it was higher than anything we could earn from it.

      • by stephanruby (542433) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @09:51PM (#40131709)

        I wonder if you actually tried the app.

        As I recall, it is so slow as to be unusable on my iPad (original model) and crashes frequently.

        It deserves to die.

        The Android Yahoo app is also slow on my Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1, mostly because of the new heavy banner advertisement they force you to load before each and every story. And there is really no reason for anyone to use it, when there are so many free alternatives that have smaller and less intrusive ads and that are getting far better ratings overall in the Android Market/Google Play Store.

        They don't need to kill their apps. They just need to kill their current mobile advertising network, and purchase an existing one (or copy the features of an existing one) that doesn't try to kill the user experience trying to squeeze out every single penny out of our eye balls (and cell phone batteries).

    • by Lisias (447563)

      Give them a few more years of stagnation and their customers moving onto other products and they simply won't have the capital or time to find that "new big thing" that will ressurect them.

      Perhaps this is not what's he (the CEO) is aiming at all.

      If he's planning to sell the company, perhaps by pieces, he must maximize the short term incoming of the units.

    • by drdrea (89814)

      Actually, the project was all but killed under Scott Thompson. Most of the leadership team on the project got laid off in the last round and the engineers got reassigned to new projects. The announcement may have happened after Thompson left, but the decision was made months ago.

    • if successful it could make his tenure less secure. That is, from the CEO's perspective it is better to jettison a potentially successful project for which he will garner no credit and could potentially make his efforts seem weak in comparison. Too bad corporate ethics are never enforced, where only the top dog's needs are now met.

  • by yog (19073) * on Sunday May 27, 2012 @09:29PM (#40131605) Homepage Journal

    I like Livestand. It's a richer interface than the one-dimensional approach of the classic browser news portal. I wonder if it was costing them too much money to maintain, or not enough ad revenue, or no revenue at all. That part was never clear to me; paging through the app, I don't see much in the way of ads.

    I wonder what's happening to Yahoo these days; they seem not to have a clue since about 2003 or so. They were a great portal back in the '90s and I still have them bookmarked for news and weather, and my wife uses their email. They have so much potential; something isn't adding up.

  • by brillow (917507) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @10:01PM (#40131767)

    Another cool-looking yahoo project that I never heard about until they decided to cancel it. If only yahoo spent as much energy talking about the things they are starting as much as the things they are ending.

  • and kill two birds with one stone
  • Why do I picture Yahoo as the Wile E. Coyote of tech companies?

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