Introduced in 1998, Yahoo's service has languished in recent years as new chat apps have drawn buzz.

(To be fair, an informal poll at my office shows that Yahoo Messenger still has fervent users.) Now Yahoo is hoping the service can make a comeback.

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"We already have a Yahoo Messenger in the market that we have not been maintaining actively for the last couple of years," Shoemaker said.

"This gets us back in touch with the market." There's good reason for that.

Messaging has been a battleground for Silicon Valley companies in recent years.

Facebook paid billion last year for Whats App, the chat service that has exploded in popularity and that, by the way, was co-founded by former Yahoo employees.

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Other players like Snapchat, with its ephemeral messaging shtick, have also been a huge hit with teens and young adults.