Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Toodle-oo Yahoo

Those of us in the web industry have been watching the travails of Yahoo with a bemused amusement*. For years, the one-time search pioneer has been flailing around, trying to define what it is—precisely—that it does.

Now it seems that the board has got fed up and fired CEO Carol Bartz—by telephone.
Yahoo shares jumped more than 6% in after-hours trading after news of the firing broke, indicating they would trade higher when Wall Street opened for business on Wednesday. Yahoo's stock price was up at $13.72, an increase of 81 cents.

Obviously things are worse than we thought since, according to Business Insider, the board are also letting people know that the company is up for sale.
In addition to firing CEO Carol Bartz, Yahoo's board has now put the company up for sale.

The person who briefed the Wall Street Journal on the Bartz firing also told the paper that "Yahoo is open to selling itself to the right bidder."

That's the equivalent of sticking a FOR SALE sign on the lawn.

Business Insider is also pretty harsh about Bartz—justifiably so.
The board canned Bartz, the WSJ's sources say, after studying the company's assets for two weeks and concluding that Bartz was doing a lousy job. If this is really true, one wonders what on earth the board has been doing for the past two years, while pretty much everyone else concluded the same thing.

Indeed. I think that the suggested solution falls short of the mark though...
There's no quick fix for Yahoo. The company needs to embrace the fact that it's now a media, content, and communications company—and make heavy investments in those areas. It needs to radically streamline itself. And it needs a leader with a clear product vision and the ability to execute on it.

If Yahoo is a "media, content and communications company", then it needs to find a strong revenue stream—something that online content companies often struggle to find.

It also needs to find greater acceptance for its—actually quite cool—developer applications and libraries amongst the web programming community.

I just don't think that those running Yahoo have the first clue on how to do either. And if the company has, indeed, put itself up for sale, it is going to made it even harder to find a CEO who does.

* The only more entertaining technology firm car-crash that I can currently think of is Hewlett-Packard. Take, for instance, this WSJ article which regales the management shenanigans at HP, under the subject line of "Let's say you were given a year to kill Hewlett-Packard. Here's how you do it..."

6 comments:

Techno Mystic said...

Don't talk to me about Yahoo. Due to the recent Lulzsec shenanigans I have been changing all my passwords. The only company where this has been a problem is Yahoo.

Changed my password about three weeks ago. Old password still working after a week, new one not working. Had long online chat with customer support. Nothing they did worked. Referred to engineers. After two days received email saying it was being looked into. One week later, I've still heard nothing. My old password still works.

I wouldn't bother but there is service I like to use (Freegle) that needs a Yahoo sign-on to use. Can't get into Groups at all with either old or new password.

MatGB said...

Oh gods, how crap. They bought Delicious, which was promising, and did little with it, while launching a competing branded service. Then they announced it would be shut down, then announced it would be sold off, and the transition for that is doing incredibly badly (several friends have had to change their blog admin passwords as the blog autoposting script not only wouldn't stop, but it wouldn't stop after it had the passwords removed from it FFS).

Yahoo is no longer a search company, but it's no good at being anything else either, it's just bloated. Still, at least they might start to figure that out now.

I have no clue, whatsoever, about HP, but that article does make more sense of their recent insane decisions. Releasing the first real actual potentially good competitor for the iPad on hardware that was originally designed to run Android, hadn't been updated and wasn't ready was an interesting choice. Dumping it almost immediately after release was even more interesting.

announcing a price fire sale and shifting all stock almost immediately was really weird. But timing it just before my birthday and the annual cash gift from my parents that would've allowed me to buy one? GAH!

Looks like Apple will dominate the tablet market, Android sucks, the PlayBook is both crap and has an awful name, and HP has bowed out before even trying.

My other trainwreck that I'm following is Nokia-they finally released a phone that's good enough to take on the iPhone, deliberately underspec it and then announce the OS is being killed within a month. And they're switching to Windows. WTF?

Apple isn't winning because the kit is better (it's palpably good, but doesn't suit me). Apple's winning because all the competition are stupid.

MatGB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ManNotNumber said...

In 08 the board rejected a $31 per share bid from MS. 3 years later the shares are a little over $13. Says it all.

Chuckles said...

Now with added schadenfreude and goodness -

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/09/08/carol-bartz-yahoo-disparagement/

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