Yahoo Messenger loses raft of features in business streamlining

The instant messaging client is set to lose interoperability with Windows Live Messenger, along with its Chat Rooms, Pingbox and paid-for VoIP features.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Yahoo is to shutter several features of its instant messaging tool, Yahoo Messenger, in a bid to free up its resources for developing new features.

Yahoo is closing some features on its Messenger service. Image: CNET

Most of the doomed features — Public Chat Rooms, Pingbox and Windows Live Messenger interoperability — will be axed on 14 December. On 30 January, Yahoo will also stop offering its paid-for Jajah-based VoIP features, Yahoo Voice Phone In and Phone Out.

"Sometimes… we have to make tough decisions, like closing down features that we feel aren't adding enough value for you," Yahoo said in a Friday blog post. "This helps us spend more energy on creating experiences that make Yahoo the most fun way to spend your time.

"With this in mind, we have decided to discontinue several Yahoo product features. This will enable us to refocus our efforts on modernising our core Yahoo products experiences and of course, create new ones."

Yahoo is indeed in a period of great flux, with new chief executive Marissa Mayer — who took the reins in July — undertaking a wide review of the business.

IM features RIP

Yahoo Chat Rooms has proved to be a troublesome feature for the company at times, notably when underage sex-themed rooms were revealed in 2005. The feature has effectively been phased out over recent years, with users losing the ability to create new rooms.

Pingbox is a box that can be embedded on a webpage, allowing visitors to send instant messages to the page's owner.

The loss of Windows Live Messenger interoperability is not a surprise, as that Microsoft product is itself due to disappear — Microsoft is merging it with Skype. Weirdly, Yahoo said in its post that Microsoft contacts would still appear in the Yahoo Messenger contacts list, but greyed out and uncontactable.

Yahoo and Jajah's co-branded landline and mobile service has been around since 2008 but, effective immediately, users can no longer add new funds to their accounts. Anyone who still has funds in their accounts for the Skype-rivalling service will get instructions this month regarding refunds.

However, Yahoo stressed that free Messenger-to-Messenger voice calls would stay possible.

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