One of the points made in Brad Garlinghouse's so-called 'Peanut Butter Manifesto' is that Yahoo is spreading itself too thin, with a number of competing and overlapping products. The problem of course has been exacerbated by acquisitions, where the company has sought to buy the 'best of breed' web 2.0 offerings. Here I'm thinking in particular of Flickr (which overlaps with Yahoo Photos) and the social bookmarking site Delicious (similar to myweb).
Richard MacManus over at Read/WriteWeb in a post titled 'Yahoo: Time to Kill Off Flickr, del.icio.us and Other Web 2.0 Brands', says that it's time for Yahoo to consolidate its overlapping products. He argues that - at the risk of upsetting the early adopter crowd - the company should merge the web 2.0 technology that it has acquired, into its mainstream equivalents.
MacManus concludes by saying:
... kill off the brands, because it's the technology in Flickr, del.icio.us, etc which is of most value to Yahoo now.
So why hasn't Yahoo done this already?
To answer this question, perhaps we need to consider why Yahoo bought Flickr and Delicious in the first place. When you acquire a web 2.0 company you are getting three things: technology, personnel, and the users. With regards to social software, it's usually the number of active users which dictates the market value of the company, as a lot of the technology can be fairly easily replicated. However, creating a large and vibrant community of users is a lot more difficult. If it's the community that has the most value, it's understandable why Yahoo would hesitate before doing anything which might alienate those users.