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Yahoo: We have a plan to win you back

The Internet giant, which has offerings ranging from email to fantasy sports, is offering a new mantra: focus.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says the company needs to "improve our relevance." Chris Farina/Corbis

Yahoo wants to make better products for you, so it's going to try zooming in.

The Internet pioneer has many popular services. There's Yahoo Mail for email, Yahoo Screen for videos, Yahoo Sports for scores and athletics news, and Yahoo Search for, well, searching the Web.

When you take a look at Yahoo's overall line of products, however, you realize it's kind of a buffet. It's got a little bit of everything but no main dish.

The Sunnyvale, California, company has decided that narrowing in can provide a fix. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said Tuesday that Yahoo will soon reveal a plan to make sure the company is "more focused" in the future. Finance chief Ken Goldman said Yahoo will look at which products are "strong winners" for the company and "disinvest" in others. The company said it will reveal more within three months.

"We ultimately need to work to improve our relevance to end users and how many times they come to us," Mayer said during a conference call Tuesday. "So we think it's important going into 2016 to get very focused."

The new plan is part of Mayer's attempt to make Yahoo a premier Internet destination again. Once one of the most powerful Internet companies in the world, it has been overshadowed by rivals. Google's Gmail has become the de facto email service on the Web; Netflix is the leading video-streaming service; ESPN is one of the best-known sports brands in the world; and "google," as a verb, is synonymous with search. Meanwhile, Yahoo's pet projects, such as buying cult-favorite sitcom "Community" and two other shows, ended up erasing $42 million from the company's accounts.

Yahoo's recommitment to focus isn't without precedent. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was famous for bringing the Mac maker back to prominence through unrelenting pinpoint vision. Google has moved in this direction, too. Earlier this month, it reorganized itself under a holding company named Alphabet, filled with smaller, more nimble -- that is, focused -- companies. Yahoo's new plan is all but an admission that its wide-ranging catalog has become unwieldy and that it needs a classic reset.

Still, as Yahoo's plan takes shape, it may not go over so well with some of its users. In a search for more sustainable profits, it may cut popular products that don't make enough money, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research.

"It's quite possible some of the things they cut will be surprising, from a user perspective," he said.