Source AP ©

Yahoo Inc to get rid of "podcasts"

Yahoo Inc. will remove a little-used service for finding and rating audio programs, known as "podcasts".

The podcast section will be silenced Oct. 31, according to a notice posted on Yahoo's Web site. It joins several other features that Yahoo has scrapped as it tries to snap out of a financial funk that has depressed its stock price and triggered a reshuffling of top management.

Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the planned closure of the podcast service.

The latest retrenchment comes near the end of 100-day review of Yahoo's operations that co-founder Jerry Yang announced in mid-July, a month after he replaced Chairman Terry Semel as the Sunnyvale-based company's chief executive.

Yahoo is expected to dump more services before the overhaul is completed, with its music subscription service frequently mentioned as one of the most likely targets.

Some shareholders have suggested the company also could boost profits by closing the Santa Monica offices that serve as the hub of its news and entertainment division.

Yang has revealed little about what else might be cut, saying only that there would be no "sacred cows" as he explores ways to revive Yahoo's earnings growth. The company's profit fell by 7 percent during the first half of this year.

Yahoo launched the podcast service two years ago in a bid to capitalize on the growing number of people transferring audio files to Apple Inc.'s iPod and other portable media devices, but the feature never attracted much interest.

In August, the podcast service was the least trafficked section of the 32 Yahoo-owned properties monitored by the research firm Hitwise. The number of August visitors dropped by 20 percent from the same time last year, according to Hitwise.

Yahoo's stock has sagged along with the company's financial performance during the past two years. Yahoo shares fell 30 cents during Thursday's late afternoon trading to $26.40, down by more than 30 percent from the price at the end of 2005.

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