Yahoo! Post Mortem…A Bit Premature?



Just one day after the announcement of Jerry Yang stepping aside as Yahoo! CEO, Forbes magazine takes a look at the 5 Biggest Mistakes Yahoo! made while hitting the skids as of late. The article reads a little like an autopsy on a live body. Sure Yahoo! is struggling to survive in the exhaust of Google and others cleaning their clock in the race to control the net (for now) but is Taps necessary just yet?

The article ‘interviews’ several Yahoo! staffers in what appears to be some kind of odd lunch time ambush since most of these ‘interviewees’ were carry their lunch or some kind of boxes. We heard things were different at Yahoo! but now we have some insight I guess. Of course, with 1,500 layoffs looming these folks may be gathering their belongings in anticipation of a trip to the HR department soon.

The five main reasons for Yahoo!’s stumble as cited by these mysterious employees were:

  1. Projects started but never completed. Apparently it was de rigueur for the company to start something and then let it fade out with no results. Honestly, I have to say that this is not just a Yahoo! problem but if the number of these projects was excessive that can kill resources and morale.
  2. Whiffed on Google. Remember when Yahoo! had a chance to buy Google in 2002 for a mere $5b? How different might the world look if that had gone through.
  3. The Terry Semel effect. Missed out on Google and started media initiatives that have crapped out for the most part.
  4. Google beats Yahoo! to DoubleClick. Another real ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’. These are the kind of things that keep Yahoo!er’s and Jerry Yang up at night.
  5. The Microsoft acquisition shuffle. I think there is a pattern developing here ……..

Other possible causes of the current state of unrest are the current economic conditions (which holds no water since Google seems to be doing fine, thank you) and the big killer of any business: indecisiveness. Lower level employees were quick to point upstream on this one saying that upper level execs weren’t instilling a lot of confidence in the rank and file.

While it may seem all doom and gloom there are still hopefuls on campus. There is a new cloud computing initiative that many are saying can help turn the corner. There is still plenty of brain power at the company and there are some strong offerings like Yahoo! Mail and Finance that keep rolling along.

OK, Pilgrims, let’s hear it. What is going to happen to Yahoo!? Where will they be in a year from now? I suspect that there may be a few strong opinions floating around out there. Let’s hear it.

  • elguiri

    Lots of bad plays, and Jerry Yang’s appeal to Microsoft (“Just buy us”) was the nail in his coffin; does he really have no new ideas or ambitions? However people forget just how big Yahoo is, and that search is perhaps not their biggest asset. See interesting article at adage http://snurl.com/5wkhc.

    Still, search space needs more competition.

  • http://www.paystolivegreen.com Patrick

    Unfinished projects are never good for morale, especially for developers. When you put your heart and soul into a project and it justu dies, it really hurts. It can also make the developers care less about further projects. Not the way to run a business.

    Patrick’s last blog post..UN Worried About Asia’s Brown Soot Cloud Problem

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole Price

    Yahoo will end up in Microsoft’s pockets very soon.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..The Best Recipe Sites

  • http://www.booshonline.com David Hobson

    Nicole your probably correct i cant see it being too long.

    Good post by the way.

    David Hobson’s last blog post..Seo Black Hat Secret Tips Revealed – Seo Black Hat Tricks Never Revealed Before!

  • Brian S.

    Several years back, I was a member of the Adcraft Club in Detroit. One year, they hosted a visit of Jerry Yang of Yahoo. He was here to discuss the now and future of Yahoo. At that time, Ebay was still independent, but becoming a growing force in its right. More important, it had Ebay’s number. It was THE dominate payment choice (3 out of 4) on Ebay, the biggest non-ad dependent success on the web. I wanted to ask Jerry if it had plans to buy ebay. The logic is simple: Paypal’s revenue was non-ad-related, and growing by leaps and bounds. To own Paypal, would mean owning Ebay too. So I stood up and asked him point blank in a room full of people. Funny thing, the looks I got from asking the question were as if I had broken some cardinal rule, as in “how dare you ask the king that”?. His response was it wasn’t part of Yahoo’s plan. That was the moment that my un-challendged respect for Yahoo and it founders changed – forever. It is their business to have that acquisition on their radar and a part of their plan for growth, if not survival. The fact that yahoo ‘accidentally’ erased the contents of my email account years later, with years of messages, ideas, etc. stored within didn’t help either. Could their be a connection????????????

  • Brian S.

    Several years back, I was a member of the Adcraft Club in Detroit. One year, they hosted a visit of Jerry Yang of Yahoo. He was here to discuss the now and future of Yahoo. At that time, Paypal was still independent, but becoming a growing force in its right. More important, it had Ebay’s number. It was THE dominate payment choice (3 out of 4) on Ebay, the biggest non-ad dependent success on the web. I wanted to ask Jerry if it had plans to buy ebay. The logic is simple: Paypal’s revenue was non-ad-related, and growing by leaps and bounds. To own Paypal, would mean owning Ebay too. So I stood up and asked him point blank in a room full of people. Funny thing, the looks I got from asking the question were as if I had broken some cardinal rule, as in “how dare you ask the king that”?. His response was it wasn’t part of Yahoo’s plan. That was the moment that my un-challendged respect for Yahoo and it founders changed – forever. It is their business to have that acquisition on their radar and a part of their plan for growth, if not survival. The fact that yahoo ‘accidentally’ erased the contents of my email account years later, with years of messages, ideas, etc. stored within didn’t help either. Could their be a connection????????????

  • http://www.gadgets4nowt.co.uk PS3

    I can’t imagine things will be wildly different in a year than they are now. Google still at the top of the pile and everyone else, including Yahoo, treading water.

  • http://www.edegreecolleges.com/ Accredited Online Universites

    Just do not get forget about those days when Yahoo was on Top, but than they stop implementing innovative ideas & just start copying others. You just can survive in market without innovation. Yahoo still have good share with web search they just need Injection of New Blood.

  • http://www.christmaspoems.biz/ galin

    I remember the time when Yahoo was the winner. Once they finished developing new tools and ideas, Yahoo got a loser. There is no way to success without changes, moderations and other innovations.

  • Nobby

    Yahoo! Helped Jail another Chinese Cyberdissident

    Headlines like these have revererated around the world (although curiously not making your top 5 mistakes by yahoo).

    “Reporters Without Borders today condemned the US firm Yahoo! for handing over data on one of its users in China which enabled the authorities there to send him to prison for eight years, the second such case that has come to light in recent months.”

    So Yahoo proves in one that cosying up to the Chinese Govt and making money is more important than getting your supporters locked up in prison. Sounds like a number one mistake to end all mistakes to me!

    http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2006/02/yahoo_helped_ja.html