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Yahoo Finance Kills Blackberry App in a True Sign of the Smartphone Times

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Yahoo will stop producing its finance app for Blackberry, a symbol of the iconic device's fall from dominance.

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On Friday afternoon, Internet giant Yahoo (YHOO) announced that it was decommissioning 10 of its mobile apps, saying on a company blog that "Our plan is to keep moving, to keep innovating, and to continuously measure and scrutinize what's working and what isn't – so we can make room for great new products."

Here's the list of apps that are headed to the scrap heap:
  • Yahoo! Meme (iPad and iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Mim (iPad)
  • Yahoo! Answers (Android)
  • Yahoo! AppSpot (Android and iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Deals (iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Finance (BlackBerry)
  • Yahoo! Movies (Android)
  • Yahoo! News (Android)
  • Yahoo! Shopping (iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search (iPad and iPhone)
Now I can understand Yahoo pulling back to reassess its app strategy on the ultra-competitive Apple (AAPL) iOS and Google (GOOG) Android platforms.

However, I was truly surprised to see the company pull the Yahoo Finance app for Research In Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry.

I remember a day when Blackberry was standard-issue equipment for all the soldiers in corporate America, a crowd that, as you can imagine, would be very likely to demand financial news and data on the go.

Yahoo Finance is one of just a handful of Web properties that have stood the test of time. Think about it. Very few of the content sites that dominated in the late 1990s still have kingpin status today, and Yahoo Finance is one of them. Its position at the absolute top of the finance vertical hasn't ever been even remotely threatened by competitors, including Google.

The fact that the dominant Web finance property is pulling away from the business-centric Blackberry platform is truly a sign of the times. Given that, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised by Yahoo's move.

In the third quarter of 2011, Gartner pegged Blackberry's global market share at 11%, down from 15.4% the year before. We haven't yet seen Q4 numbers from Gartner, but it is a mathematical certainty that there's more shrinkage on the way, given the iPhone 4S' blockbuster sales numbers, and Samsung-led growth on the Android side. (See: Samsung and Apple Now Account for 86% of Smartphone Industry Growth.)

Now from an anecdotal perspective, I've been awfully surprised at the increasing number of 'suits' I see around New York City sporting iPhones and iPads. And when I say suits, I don't mean young, dashing folks in fashion or media -- I'm talking about Fortune 500 types in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Again, a crowd that would seem to want financial news and data on the go.

And Yahoo just decided that crowd isn't big enough to support.

At least in these parts, traditionally, Apple products mostly appealed to a younger, hipper crowd, as well as creatives. But it's clear, at least to me, that the iOS platform is exploding across multiple demographics.

Heck, from what I've seen on airplanes, toddlers absolutely LOVE iPads.

Never seen one with a Blackberry or Playbook, though....

Twitter: @MichaelComeau

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