To many it may come as little surprise to hear this Tuesday, Carol Bartz emailed her staff to notify them that she had just been unceremoniously fired from Yahoo via phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board.
Photo Attribute : Yodel Anecdotal/Yahoo! Inc
Bartz’s three-year term as CEO has shown little progress, and clearly many folks are fed up. After Yahoo’s disastrous reign under Jerry Yang, many hoped Bartz would be able to turn things around and return Yahoo to its former glory, but things continue to look bleak for the fallen giant.
Yahoo once ruled the internet with an ironic exclamation mark. Those glory days seem so long ago now.
What Brought Yahoo Down?
How did a brand of such extreme success, arguably at one time the number one name on the web, take such a terrible nose dive?
Different people will offer varying opinions about what Yahoo’s fatal flaw was.
Lousy leadership has definitely played a role, as evidenced by Yahoo’s revolving CEO door.
Many people claim that Yahoo’s grievous error was in sacrificing its search engine soul in 2009, outsourcing search results to Microsoft and opting out of the search biz that they once ruled. After backing out of the search arena, Yahoo started attempting to gain footing in personalized mobile news and tried to expand content offerings through their buy of Associated Press.
As Google continued to grow, Yahoo was forced to make huge layoffs and shut down or sell once valuable properties like Geocities and Delicious.
Yahoo’s purple power drained away as it spread itself too thin across various endeavors. I can sympathize to some degree—too many dreams and not enough direction is a dangerous mix.
Maybe Yahoo should have stuck with search rather than flying too close to the sun. Ultimately, Yahoo took some risks that just didn’t pay off.
Yahoo’s Rise and Fall
Focus created a great infographic documenting the rise and fall of Yahoo, and although the graph stops at 2010, I can spoil the ending for you—things don’t get better. At least not yet.
Finance graphs tell a similar tale of woe. It’s interesting to look at how hard Yahoo has fallen in just the past few years:
While the company dreams of turning the clock back to the successful times surrounding 2007, it’s more depressing to take a step back even further and realize Yahoo’s best days are very, very far behind.
What Is the Future of Yahoo?
Company Chairman Roy Bostock stated in a recent press release concerning the company’s “leadership reorganization”: “We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo! on a trajectory for growth and innovation and deliver value to shareholders.”
Some wonder if this statement suggests Yahoo will be considering selling itself, either as a whole company or cut up as scrap parts. I’m sure shareholders are wishing Yahoo hadn’t rejected Microsoft’s 2008 buyout offer of $30 a share. With recent shares at $13.60, shareholders are dreaming of time machines.
So far, Yahoo has had a hard time hanging on to talent, but they’ll need someone special to help turn things around. If Yahoo can find the right CEO, they’ll still have a chance.
Kara Swisher of All Things D suggests some candidates to take over as Yahoo’s next CEO, with Snoop Dogg already generously offering his services.
They need someone inspiring who can harness the company’s confused chaos and bring focus. Maybe Steve Jobs will have pity on Yahoo and take on the challange. If not him, then someone with similar innovation and clear direction will be necessary to steer Yahoo out of the disaster zone.
What do you think? Who would you recommend as Yahoo's next CEO? And what will the company have to do to save its skin?