Yahoo’s Future

First, Yahoo thought they could get some kind of private deal with Google, their nemesis (or so it goes in my opinion). A White Knight kind of thing, a guaranteed injection of cash at a valuation much higher than MS would ever pay, not only higher than the market, but higher than even the most optimistic of employees would ever pay.

That’s kind of sad, isn’t it; turning to your most feared enemy, when you have no where else to go, expecting, or at least hoping for, some kind of salvation.

It never works, and Google looks to be out of the story already, a day or two later.

Why are we in this jam? they must all be asking themselves, but Yahoo has been wandering in the dark for so long, despite the Terry Semel detour around Hollywood, that they really already know the answer: they don’t have one.

So then they do the wild shopping spree, mad calls to everyone in NYC, what about London?

Dubai has money! What about a Sheik? Prince Alwaleed saved Apple! What about him?

Be glad, if you don’t, that you don’t work for Yahoo tonight.

It’s their fault, they have no plan, they don’t know what to do. Worse, they don’t seem to have very good advisors. Why are they laying off people? That’s the bad guys’ job. Did someone tell them that they get to stay solo if they do it themselves, first?

In this case, Never.

And then the big bad wolf shows up. Yeah, Jerry had talked with him before. But now it was different, really different. Before, one could argue, negotiate. Now, it’s just Rupert.

Remember the Charm Offensive for the whole family before he got the vote to take over the Wall Street Journal? He waited years on that one.

Here’s a little lie that no experienced businessperson ever believes: I’ll own it, but you can run it.

It’s not even funny. It’s a test of your naivete.

So, the choices aren’t looking too good. You know why, but now you’re there. Remember the Golden Days? Only minutes ago, but they are gone now, and they are NEVER coming back.

It isn’t that you’re not smart enough, today; it’s that you weren’t smart enough, a year ago.

I don’t envy Jerry any part of this decision-making process; the alternatives are, from his point of view, all bad. Or if they don’t look all bad, he just isn’t paying attention.

Would you rather be AOL, owned by TimeWarner? Nothing left.

Whatever happens, Yahoo is now going to be a division at best, or even part of a division.

That first day, at Stanford, when someone had the idea that the network needed a directory —
That was better, actually, than Google, who thought they were a search engine, and only later stumbled on the ad thing. Their kudos come from alacrity: they made the change, very fast, and followed the money.

Life is made of change, a lesson you are about to prove yet again. There will be other companies.