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Yahoo wants bigger slice of tech pie, less emphasis on media products

It is putting the axe to more than a half dozen of its less popular products as CEO Marissa Mayer remakes the company.

Yahoo is beefing up technology offerings and streamlining its media products in another sign it wants to improve its game against industry titans like Google, Apple and Facebook.

It is putting the axe to more than a half dozen of its less popular products as CEO Marissa Mayer, a former Google engineer who worked her way up to a vice president post, remakes the company known as a hip Web portal into a more competitive player across the spectrum.

The company said Friday most of the products it is dumping will either shut down April 1 or not be supported after that date.

Yahoo said in a blog post that affected products include Yahoo Avatars, Yahoo app for BlackBerry, Yahoo Clues (beta), Yahoo App Search, Yahoo Sports IQ, Yahoo Message Boards website, and Yahoo Updates API.

The product overhaul isn't the only sign of change at Yahoo, a company with a dramatic history in recent years of fired CEOs.

Mayer, who at Google served as a VP of local, maps and location services, is bringing a hard-core tech influence to Yahoo.

In a recent regulatory filing, Yahoo officially changed its boilerplate to describe itself as a "global technology company," instead of a "digital media company" or "online media company" as it has labeled itself for the last few years.

As further evidence of a strategy shift, Yahoo in December acquired video chat start-up OnTheAir as part of its focus on mobile applications and services.

The next month, as part of an earnings teleconference, Mayer identified new products and mobile investments as among several strategies aimed at keeping the company relevant as it tries to compete against other companies.

She highlighted recently revamped hiring protocols and product launches, such as its redesigned Flickr iOS app and Yahoo Mail, as positive steps for the company, though she stressed that "there's a lot of work still to be done."

Yahoo will focus on developing or redesigning roughly a dozen products in the months and years to come, each built around people's "daily digital habits," Mayer said.

As for the changes announced Friday, among the highlights:

--Yahoo said that as of April 1 it won't support Avatars. If you want to download and keep yours, go to the Avatars download page. If you want to continue to use it with Yahoo products you'll have to upload your downloaded Avatar to your Yahoo profile. Here's more information.

-- As for Yahoo Sports IQ, the daily prediction game will cease on April 1. Your final lifetime score and rank will transfer to your Yahoo Fantasy profile.

-- While the Yahoo Message Boards website will shut down, Yahoo message boards on places such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Fantasy Sports will continue to work.


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