Yahoo's new app will combine Meerkat, Snapchat, and Skype... but as Facebook learned, copying rarely pays
Yahoo is planning to release a messaging application that combines Meerkat, Snapchat, and other existing services into one product, the Information reports.
The app would be the first new consumer product Yahoo has shipped since Marissa Mayer came on as chief executive in 2012. All of its other recent releases have been updates to existing products, or from companies it acquired.
Here's how the Information describes the Frankenstein-like messaging app:
Later this quarter it will unveil a mobile app that combines live and recorded video and text, blending aspects of live video apps like Meerkat, YouNow and Skype and the recorded video messages popularized by Snapchat, according to a person who has seen the product and a person who was briefed about it.Business Insider notes that it's unfair to judge Yahoo's messaging application off that description. But it also points out that Yahoo is basically copying other products, and that strategy hasn't worked out particularly well for Facebook.
That's actually putting it lightly. Facebook has released several apps that seek to replace Snapchat, Reddit, and other social services that threaten its dominance. None of them have been received with more than a bored, milquetoast reaction.
Facebook's had better luck with its acquisitions. People still use Facebook's branded services in droves, but they are also experimenting with other tools, and teens especially are looking to Instagram and WhatsApp, both of which are owned and operated by Facebook.
Yahoo has the acquisitions part down pat. The company has acquired more startups than I care to count, to the point at which Erin Griffith previously wrote that any company that can't raise a Series A should just sell to Yahoo.
Now it seems we'll see if Yahoo's attempts to copy other services will turn out better than Facebook's efforts. If they do, people might just shut up about Mayer for a few hours. If they don't, the whining will come faster than before.
Not that Mayer's betting the company. Yahoo always has its stake in Alibaba.
[Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]