Jerry Yang Steps Down From Yahoo! CEO Position

Although Yang isn’t completely leaving Yahoo! (he will still remain as “cheif yahoo” and still be on the board of directors) he has decided to step down from the CEO position.

I don’t have much to say about this decision other than it will probably make a lot of stock holders happy (all of the ones who wished Yahoo! would have been purchased by Microsoft) but in the short term it will do nothing more than extend the amount of time it will take for Yahoo! to do what it needs to do, which is focus on… something. Yang wasn’t able to give the company that focus but let’s remember that he has only been CEO since June 2007 and that may have not been enough time to really figure out what needs to be done.

I personally think that this decision may have been made due to pressure from the media and possible other people within Yahoo! who didn’t seem to think that Yang was doing a very good job. I don’t exactly agree with those who weren’t happy with Yang, I just don’t think he had enough time to make the changes that he needed to. Another 6-12 months probably would have done the whole company a lot of good, but maybe that’s whey I’m not running a big company like he was.

Below is the memo sent by Jerry Yang to the entire company:

To: all yahoos
Fr: Jerry
Subject: update

yahoos –

i wanted to address all of you on the news we’ve just announced. the board of directors and I have agreed to initiate a succession process for the ceo role of yahoo!. roy bostock, our chairman of the board, is leading the effort to identify and assess potential candidates for consideration by the full board. the board will be evaluating and considering both internal and external candidates and has retained heidrick and struggles to help in this effort.

i will be participating in the search for my successor, and i will continue as ceo until the board selects a new ceo. once a successor is named, i will return to my previous role as chief yahoo and continue to serve as a director on the board.

last june, i accepted the board’s request that i assume the ceo role to restructure and reposition the company as a whole in order to more effectively meet the fast-changing needs of both users and partners. since taking on the ceo role, i have had an ongoing dialogue with the board about succession timing. thanks in large measure to your tireless efforts, we have created a more open, competitive yahoo! and we believe the time is now right to transition to a new ceo who can take the company to the next level.

despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago. this only makes it all the more essential that we manage this opportunity to leverage the progress up to this point as effectively as possible. i strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.

all of you know that I have always, and will always bleed purple. i will always do what I think is right for this great company. while this step will be an adjustment for all of us, i know it’s the right one. i look forward to updating you on this process as soon as the board has developments to share, and will continue to do everything i can to make yahoo! fulfill its full potential.

thank you,

Categorized as Yahoo!

Microsoft Yahoo Deal Not Out The Window Yet

I have to be honest with all of you what many of you think about the iPhone 3G I think about the Microsoft Yahoo story. I don’t believe it would be good for either company to merge and would only buy Google more time to increase its lead against the two in advertising.

Yesterday Microsoft released a statement basically saying that they’re still interested in Yahoo. Microsoft said that they would be interested in purchasing the search area of Yahoo or alternatively purchase the whole company. This deal with Yahoo’s current board clearly wouldn’t happen, as Microsoft has already tried that. But, with Carl Icahn’s proposed board it would likely happen.

Yahoo also came out and issued a statement saying that they are still ready to enter into negotiations with Microsoft if they would make an actual offer, and the offer was what Yahoo wanted.

I really think that Carl Icahn and everyone who wants Yahoo to sell either thinks that they can make big bucks from the transaction or that we live in a utopian world where this sort of merger would end up with both Microsoft and Yahoo better off afterwards. But, clearly we don’t live in a utopian world and what would likely happen is months and months (maybe even years) of trying to figure out how to integrate Yahoo into Microsoft with all of their redundant properties (search, ads, photos, blogs, email, etc.). This would allow Google to pull further ahead and destroy the competition completely (namely Microsoft/Yahoo).


Yahoo in Talks With Time Warner for AOL Merger

Over the holiday weekend Yahoo spent time talking with Time Warner. Yahoo has been trying to figure out ways to fend off a takeover attempt by Microsoft and the crazy activist shareholder Carl Icahn.

The idea is to merge AOL with Yahoo which would bring a lot of content and help the advertising area of Yahoo get some more eye balls.

Icahn is suggesting his own slate of new directors that all support the Microsoft takeover. At Yahoo’s general meeting on August 1 we’ll see some clear arguments over the future of the company.

The only other deal that I’ve seen that Yahoo is trying to make to stop the hostility within the company and outside of it is the ad deal with Google which is currently being looked at by the Department of Justice.

I personally wish all of this stuff would stop, there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence that the best thing for Yahoo would be for them to be taken over by Microsoft. I really think that if Microsoft was to takeover Yahoo it would be bad for both companies and great for Google. The managerial issues of merging the two companies would be terribly complicated and would buy some more time for Google to pull further and further ahead.

The Register

My Favorite Fire Eagle Applications

After writing my post yesterday about Fire Eagle I recieved an invite from Chad Dickerson (thank you very much) and have spent the past day playing around with some of the applications that use the service.

I’m only going to mention two of the applications that I use because I don’t really have a use for the others. The first application (which is actually a group of widgets) are called “fire widget.” They include a location updating widget, a weather widget, and a Flickr photo widget. The location updating widget does just what it says, allows me to easily update my location from within Dashboard. The Weather widget shows me the weather of the most recent location from Fire Eagle. The last widget is the most interesting one, it displays photos from Flickr that have been geotagged near my latest location from Fire Eagle.

The other application that I like is called Metosphere, it allows me to geotag locations with reviews, alerts, events, etc. (I’ve never used it and probably never will.Metosphere also allows me to report graffiti or something that needs to be repaired in a city (I’m not sure where the info goes but at least gets the information out there) seemingly so that it will get cleaned up/fixed. My favorite thing about Metosphere though is the ability to see nearby events coming up in my area.

Now what I’d like to see is an application that updates my location by remembering Wifi networks that my MacBook connects to and if I connect to a new location it asks me where I am so that if I connect to it again it can automatically update my location with the data.

I talked a little bit about integration with the iPhone in my last post and I want to write a little more about that. I think that with the iPhone’s clear focus on location based services and Fire Eagle being a way to push that data into the cloud and use it on applications that live on the phone, in the phones browser, or on the desktop we can see some serious things happening with Fire Eagle in the next 12-18 months.

How Yahoo is Way Ahead of the Curve in Location Based Services

Many people think that Yahoo isn’t that good at putting new products infront of users and monetizing it, and they’re right. But, what they don’t realize is that Yahoo is way ahead of the curve in location based services and they don’t have to put it infront of users because other developers will.

The product is called Fire Eagle and what it does is allow developers to hook in and use location data to give information to users.

How it works is a user has an application that periodically updates to the most current location, the data is stored on Fire Eagle. The data can be grabbed by a GPS nav system, a cell phone, or even your laptop triangulating Wifi signals. The data is sent to Yahoo Fire Eagle and is stored.

The magic happens when you start to think about what that data can be used for. A Dashboard widget could use that information to give you weather information for the city you are in. An application on your cell phone could alert you when you are in a store with someone you know. Maybe even your GPS nav system will let you know that you are near a grocery store and give you a list of things that you need to buy.

Many of these application have not been built yet, but they can be with Fire Eagle.

Why Yahoo is doing this right is because it allows users the ability to control what applications are able to see what data. So let’s say I want a weather application to know what city I’m in, but I don’t want it to know my exact coordinates, Fire Eagle allows you to choose how close you want an app to see where you are, from exact coordinates, to zip code, to city, to state, and even country (I’m not sure how useful that last one is but it is still available).

I haven’t seen a single other developer platform out there that is doing this kind of thing, so from what I see Yahoo is way ahead (if anyone knows of any others please let me know). Obviously there are still some kinks that need to be worked out (that’s why it’s in beta), there isn’t anything that Fire Eagle does special when a location gets stale (other then offer a timestamp through their API) so the last time your location was updated could have been 2 weeks ago and it’s possible that you could still be there, but probably not. The other thing that the developers working on Fire Eagle need to think about is what happens with two updating applications get conflicting data at the same time or when a user is at a location that doesn’t have a city name.

So, there’s still a lot to be worked on, but Yahoo is farther then anyone else. The site is in beta so to get access you need to request an invitation code (I requested a few days ago and still haven’t recieved mine yet). But, this is really going places, I’ve read a few articles talking about it but I haven’t really seen any that bubbled to the top and became big news (and I think it should since everyone seems to think that location based services is going to be the next big thing).

Fire Eagle and the iPhone

The last thing I wanted to mention is the idea of Fire Eagle and the iPhone. One of the biggest problems with getting your current location with the iPhone is that it uses a lot of batter life, Apple has done a lot to keep that from becoming too much of a problem (like turing off GPS when it isn’t being used) but Fire Eagle could make this even better. What if every time you used a location based service on the iPhone, the application checked Fire Eagle for your latest location instead of going straight to the GPS? If the timestamp on that data was in the last (let’s just say) 5 minutes, they wouldn’t even need to fire up GPS to get your location. But, if the application did need to turn on GPS, it could push that information to Fire Eagle allowing other applications to use that data without turning on GPS. (Just a thought).

Fire Eagle

Microsoft Abandons Yahoo Acquisition

One year ago today was the first time I ever mentioned the idea of Microsoft acquiring Yahoo, at that time Microsoft had gone public with it but in February of this year Microsoft formally announced that they were offering $44.6 billion to acquire Yahoo.

Microsoft then made a deadline for Yahoo to respond, which then ended and the story seemed to drag on forever. Yesterday it all ended when Microsoft officially abandoned the Yahoo acquisition.

“We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a statement distributed early Saturday evening.

Microsoft had raised the initial bid to $33 per share but that didn’t sway Yahoo which wanted $37 per share. “After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal,” said Ballmer.

Yahoo has issued a statement saying that they do still believe that the offer was too low and that many shareholders agreed with that position.

I am a little surprised by this, I at least expected Microsoft to “attempt” a hostile takeover (the only reason I use “” around attempt is because I believe it would have been a half hearted attempt). But, I also think that this was their best decision, having to deal with the merger of two monoliths would have been a nightmare and might have given Google enough time to pull ahead even further.

Although I’ve heard that some analysts may be thinking that this is just Microsoft’s way of waiting until the Yahoo stock price tanks and then trying to either do a hostile takeover anyway or offer another acquisition bid, but I hardly see that happening especially since I don’t believe Microsoft ever really wanted Yahoo to beginning with.


The Microsoft Yahoo Deal Is Tiring.

It’s possible that this Microsoft Yahoo deal might actually happen, the New York Times says that Microsoft has upped the original $44.6 billion bid by “several dollars.” The NYT didn’t say exactly by how much and the quote is from an unnamed source but at least they are talking.

I still personally don’t want this to happen and actually don’t think it will anyway. Steve Balmer has already said that they could build the advertising network that they are trying to get without buying Yahoo, basically saying that they don’t really need Yahoo, and Bill Gates has said many times that they aren’t going to raise the bid. But, as I mentioned earlier they did raise their bid so who knows what will truly happen at this point in the game.

I still subscribe to the idea that John C. Dvorak has said several times, the EU won’t let this happen because of antitrust issues. Microsoft may convince Yahoo to finally concede and become one with Microsoft but because the EU has seemed to have it out for Microsoft for so long and will hit them for antitrust.

This whole Microsoft Yahoo thing is so confusing and Microsoft has never really seemed like they were trying that hard to acquire Yahoo. It is hard to draw any conclusions from this news. To be honest with you, the deal is just tiring, I wish Microsoft would get it through its thick Steve Balmer shaped skull that they DON’T need to be in advertising and if they spent as much time improving their software as they do talking about how they are going to do a hostile take over of Yahoo, their OS and Office would be undoubtedly the best products in the software segment that they sit in.

Microsoft give up, and save us all from the frustrations of trying to figure out how these two companies with such differing corporate cultures would ever assimilate into one another and quit it.

New York Times

What Happens Next In the Microsoft Takeover Bid For Yahoo

The deadline for Yahoo to reply regarding the Microsoft take over ended Saturday night, so what happens next? Will Microsoft attempt a hostile take over, will Yahoo accept the bid, or will Microsoft walk away?

I think that Microsoft will give a half hearted attempt at a hostile take over but eventually walk away. This merger wouldn’t be good for either Yahoo! or Microsoft. Microsoft would now have to deal with all of these properties that Microsoft already has clones of, Flickr, Yahoo video, Yahoo Mail, etc. and it wouldn’t be good for Yahoo! because I think that Yahoo! is WAY undervalued and could actually has a pretty good chance at taking on Google, I DON’T think that Microsoft+Yahoo has any chance at taking on Google because of the issues of dealing with the merger.

Let’s take the AMD/ATI merger for example, neither AMD or ATI was beating their main competitor when they began the merger, but after the merger happened Intel and Nvidia pulled so far ahead at price/performance that AMD/ATI is having a really hard time competing.

The same thing that is happening with AMD/ATI WILL happen to Microsoft/Yahoo and let’s face it, I don’t think either Microsoft or Yahoo are that well managed on their own.

I haven’t talked about this story on the blog at all, mostly because I figured it would blow over a lot quicker than it has, I’ve always thought that it was a bad idea and pretty much thought that it was a non-story because I (like John C. Dvorak) believe that even if Microsoft tries to takeover Yahoo the EU will stop it dead in its tracks.

Yahoo! Launches “Yahoo Live” Service

Last night Yahoo! launched it’s live streaming website allowing users to stream from a webcam so that anyone can watch it. As of writing this the website is full of errors telling me that they are experience a lot of traffic so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to play around with it.

What I have been able to do is watch a few streams and they look pretty good probably not much better than any of the other live streaming websites out there but what sets it apart is the web design itself.

The web site looks gorgeous, you just have to see it for yourself.

It doesn’t look like it is very hard to sign up for the service, all you need is a webcam, a microphone, and a Yahoo! account.

Yahoo! Live

Microsoft in Talks to acquire Yahoo

According to the NYPost Microsoft has reopened talks to merge or acquire Yahoo! The estimated value of the transaction, if it went down, would be $50 Billion.

This merger/acquisition would put them at 27% of the internet search market with Google at 65%. Not to mention the amount of eyeballs they have combined.

NYPost says that if this happened the online advertising that Yahoo and Microsoft control would only be behind Google 13%.

This is a really big deal and I think it would be interesting if it happened, it would make Microsoft/Yahoo! the most dominant force on the internet.

New York Post