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For tech companies, tis the season for cleaning house & killing apps

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Now is the winter of tech companies’ discontent. By that I mean December is fast becoming the time of the year for tech companies to shutter apps and services that haven’t quite made their mark.

Most recently, LinkedIn has decided to fully discontinue its Pulse News reader application, which it first acquired back in 2013, on December 31. The move isn’t very surprising, considering that the company launched a completely overhauled version of Pulse (officially called LinkedIn Pulse) back in September that doesn’t look much at all like the old service.

Need more evidence that December is the month of cleaning? Well, it started with Dropbox’s announcement that it’s going to pull the plug on its Mailbox and Carousel apps. That revelation is supposed to help the company focus on collaboration features, like the business-focused Paper service, and finally give it the evidence it needs to prove that it’s more than just a feature.

Then it continued with Facebook shuttering its Creative Labs, which gave the company’s workers an outlet for their creative energies. (Or at least their desire to work on something tangential to the jolly blue giant — the products were mostly rip-offs.) The company also pulled all the Labs’ output from app stores.

Mozilla joined in the action earlier this afternoon. The company plans to stop developing and selling devices featuring its Firefox OS, which was designed to offer a cheaper, more open mobile platform. It also plans to “disentangle the technical infrastructure” of its Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.

Soon it will lead to even more abandoned products. Oyster’s planning to “sunset” its all-you-can-read book service in January 2016 after much of its team was hired to work at Google. Outerwall, makers of DVD rental kiosks Redbox, isn’t getting killed — but as of today its stock certainly is after the company confirmed that business is way down. And while AOL’s dial-up (aka “membership”) business is still around, many of the folks employed to run that portion of the company were just “gifted” pink slips. Though it technically happened last month, Rdio finally threw in the towel, too.

At this point it wouldn’t be a surprise if even more products disappear. Blogger? AOL Instant Messenger? Facebook Paper? Yahoo News Digest? Chances are that most of us won’t even be able to think of the apps most likely to be put down: The problem with most of these services is that they’ve already been forgotten by so many people.

One Response to “For tech companies, tis the season for cleaning house & killing apps”

  1. Most media says Blogger is forgotten because “their market” doesn’t mention it with the same hype modern tech media likes. But you guys seem not the see behond borders. The truth is that Blogger is still very strong in developing markets outside your “niche”. Say Venezuela, for example. The peculiarites of our market makes selfhosted platforms a non-viable option, and is cool, sure, but with the possibily Blogger offers of acquiring a free “” domain for your site while WordPress asks for a small fee in US currency (not very easy to pay for most of Venezuelans), makes Blogger the go-to option for us.
    The same happens in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and some other sites, I myself have a very decent Blogger site with a modest visitors rate. And Google is still capitalizing it very well (I’ve been using adsense for some time and is making money, slow, but it is there).
    True, Google has slowed down development in its site, but I don’t think they’re ready to kill it just yet. Since it still has a good userbase and it’s making some money.