The Marissa Mayer mandated changes keep coming at Yahoo. Google Reader isn’t the only service shuttering its doors – Yahoo quietly retired Messenger in its Mail Classic service today. Users who resisted upgrading to the current model of Yahoo Mail can’t IM through Mail Classic anymore.
You can still use Messenger if you have the newer version of Yahoo Mail, so this change may help Yahoo get more of its users off Classic and onto the new Yahoo Mail. This change only applies to people who decided to keep the older “Classic” version of Mail.
On the help page explaining the change, Yahoo offers two alternatives to Mail Classic Messenger, and encourages users to either upgrade to the new mailbox or download Yahoo’s chat client. So Messenger isn’t going away, as long as you leave Mail Classic.
The company addressed its decision with a vague statement: “At Yahoo!, we’re focused on making your daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. That means we’re constantly reviewing our products and experiences and in some cases, have to make tough decisions to no longer support a product.”
What does this really mean? For now, Mail Classic is still available, but Yahoo is clearly trying to encourage users to move off the service, so it’s likely not long for this world. Mayer migrated to Yahoo from Google in July 2012, and her appointment signaled a major re-branding effort for the struggling company. She is defining her tenure as CEO with an intense streamlining operation, complete with a revamped home page and an even more radical telecommuting ban, so this latest change makes total sense. Yahoo is cutting the fat. Any service that doesn’t serve the company and its users is getting jettisoned. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is really a prelude to closing Mail Classic altogether.
Yahoo still lags far behind Google, but this is a solid (albeit small) step towards untangling its labyrinthine services and snipping away the strands that don’t work.