I don't feel sorry for Yahoo

I keep trying to ignore this year’s biggest technology industry news story. I’d rather try out the latest Twitter client (TweetDeck is the one on my screen right now and it’s pretty cool). But through that client came a torrent of news this morning and, indeed, the story is all over the top of TechMeme. Steve Ballmer still wants to buy Yahoo, but only if Yahoo’s current board gets fired first.

I don’t care and I don’t feel sorry for Yahoo. I am thinking back to the first days of this story, back in January. I still remember Maryam, turning to me after I told her that Yahoo was turning down Microsoft. She said “are they crazy?” If a normal person can have that reaction, something must have been wrong inside the leadership of Yahoo.

Translation: Yahoo is being burnt to the ground by its current management.

Sometimes management does this. I wish I knew why. I’ve seen this happen at big companies and small ones (even some that I’ve worked at).

It causes a lot of consternation, layoffs, hurt careers, etc. But on Saturday I saw the silver light in all this: Silicon Valley just got a ton of innovators that now are free of bad management.

I was at a breakfast with a former Yahoo worker. He’d been laid off in this latest round of layoffs. He, and a friend, were starting a new company that is doing something I want (we’ll talk about this later after they come out of stealth mode).

And it’s not the first time I’ve heard of an ex-Yahoo employee doing something innovative, either.

Watch over the next year as a bunch of new stuff comes out because all of a sudden a bunch of ex-Yahoo employees are following their dreams. Even when they don’t start new companies, they are making contributions to other companies.

It’s the cycle of life in Silicon Valley. The old mess up and screw up their companies, spinning off tons of smart people, and that helps the new happen.

So, don’t expect me to cry about Yahoo.

Go Jerry, go!

Comments

  1. Yes, the technology industry does have an ecosystem with ” food chain” and life cycle. I think it is in yahoo’s best interest to refresh the board and bring in some energetic, young employees. It will be exciting to see what great ideas will emerge from the ex-yahoo employees once they venture out on their own.

  2. Yes, the technology industry does have an ecosystem with ” food chain” and life cycle. I think it is in yahoo’s best interest to refresh the board and bring in some energetic, young employees. It will be exciting to see what great ideas will emerge from the ex-yahoo employees once they venture out on their own.

  3. Yahoo was dead the minute they received the offer. They’re dead when they accept, they’re dead when they decline.

  4. Yahoo was dead the minute they received the offer. They’re dead when they accept, they’re dead when they decline.

  5. Robert,

    Go back to how this started. This wasn’t a partnership or friendly merger of two companies. This was a “Hostile” takeover. I don’t know if you have ever been on the receiving end of one, but I have. Oh sure everything is “amicable” at first, but soon the “new” Mgmt looks at duplication of departments, excess “fat” etc. and the layoffs and terminations begin. And the loser in the takeover always gets the shaft. Microsoft wasn’t/isn’t just intending on “acquiring” Yahoo. They are going to obliterate them. And we call Yahoo management “crazy” for opting not to get obliterated, and for standing up to this exceedingly wealthy disgusting company.

    Consider this -

    You and your wife decide to build your dream house. It takes you years and you have to borrow (public) money from the bank to do so. But you love your house. And it took YOUR blood sweat and tears to build it, not just the money from the bank. Now an exceedingly wealthy businessman called Steve Ballmer is driving by one day and decides he wants your house. He doesn’t really care for the house, or what it means to you. He just likes the fact that your yard is next to his and he can buy your house, raze it to to the ground and have a much bigger yard. And the only reason he wants a much bigger yard is so Mr. Google doesn’t have the biggest yard in the neighborhood. Since he is very wealthy, he can just throw money at you like you are some “whore on the street” and offers you 2X or 3X what your house is worth. You get mad, refuse to sell, and the word gets out. Now everyone is calling you an idiot/moron/crazy. Including the bank who has your mortgage. People are screaming at you. There are plots to overthrow your bankers so more “reasonable” people can take over your mortgage and “force” you to sell your dream home to the benevolent Mr. Ballmer at a much reduced price.

    There are things more important in life than money, but we don’t care anymore. Apparently in this capitalistic society the almightly dollar rules, and that’s why disgusting, despicable, morally and ethically bankrupt monopolies like Microsoft are revered, while anyone that dares stand up to them is a subject of ridicule.

    In all this, Microsoft has already achieved it’s objective. Just by initiating this fiasco, Yahoo as a competitor to Microsoft is now finished. By default Microsoft will now become #2 in search.

    /End Rant

  6. Robert,

    Go back to how this started. This wasn’t a partnership or friendly merger of two companies. This was a “Hostile” takeover. I don’t know if you have ever been on the receiving end of one, but I have. Oh sure everything is “amicable” at first, but soon the “new” Mgmt looks at duplication of departments, excess “fat” etc. and the layoffs and terminations begin. And the loser in the takeover always gets the shaft. Microsoft wasn’t/isn’t just intending on “acquiring” Yahoo. They are going to obliterate them. And we call Yahoo management “crazy” for opting not to get obliterated, and for standing up to this exceedingly wealthy disgusting company.

    Consider this -

    You and your wife decide to build your dream house. It takes you years and you have to borrow (public) money from the bank to do so. But you love your house. And it took YOUR blood sweat and tears to build it, not just the money from the bank. Now an exceedingly wealthy businessman called Steve Ballmer is driving by one day and decides he wants your house. He doesn’t really care for the house, or what it means to you. He just likes the fact that your yard is next to his and he can buy your house, raze it to to the ground and have a much bigger yard. And the only reason he wants a much bigger yard is so Mr. Google doesn’t have the biggest yard in the neighborhood. Since he is very wealthy, he can just throw money at you like you are some “whore on the street” and offers you 2X or 3X what your house is worth. You get mad, refuse to sell, and the word gets out. Now everyone is calling you an idiot/moron/crazy. Including the bank who has your mortgage. People are screaming at you. There are plots to overthrow your bankers so more “reasonable” people can take over your mortgage and “force” you to sell your dream home to the benevolent Mr. Ballmer at a much reduced price.

    There are things more important in life than money, but we don’t care anymore. Apparently in this capitalistic society the almightly dollar rules, and that’s why disgusting, despicable, morally and ethically bankrupt monopolies like Microsoft are revered, while anyone that dares stand up to them is a subject of ridicule.

    In all this, Microsoft has already achieved it’s objective. Just by initiating this fiasco, Yahoo as a competitor to Microsoft is now finished. By default Microsoft will now become #2 in search.

    /End Rant

  7. Yeah, I don’t want to see people getting fired/laid-off (especially in this current economy…and maybe even moreso in high cost of living areas like Silicon Valley where a couple months of no-pay could mean total financial distaster for people…

    HOWEVER,

    Yahoo needs to merge peacefully with Microsoft. Yahoo had their decade long chance to rule the internet and they failed time and time again to move beyond their infancy boom that occurred in the mid/late 90s. The time now has come for Microsoft and Google to face-off. Neither company will ever get a majority, but at least 2 company instead of the three we have now will break the stalemate and knock Google down a few notches to allow fair market competition.

  8. Yeah, I don’t want to see people getting fired/laid-off (especially in this current economy…and maybe even moreso in high cost of living areas like Silicon Valley where a couple months of no-pay could mean total financial distaster for people…

    HOWEVER,

    Yahoo needs to merge peacefully with Microsoft. Yahoo had their decade long chance to rule the internet and they failed time and time again to move beyond their infancy boom that occurred in the mid/late 90s. The time now has come for Microsoft and Google to face-off. Neither company will ever get a majority, but at least 2 company instead of the three we have now will break the stalemate and knock Google down a few notches to allow fair market competition.

  9. Hash,

    You forgot to mention that your house was also falling apart and Mr. Ballmer offered to fix it up and let you stay living in it.

  10. Hash,

    You forgot to mention that your house was also falling apart and Mr. Ballmer offered to fix it up and let you stay living in it.

  11. Anon,

    When I need help “fixing” my house, I’ll ask for it. Funny how none of this Yahoo “Doom and Gloom” prognostication was mentioned by anyone BEFORE Microsoft decided to butt in. Yeah, they were going to have a bad quarter, but in this economy, wasn’t everyone?(Unethical, Illegal monopolies excluded of course)
    As far as the benevolent Mr. Ballmer letting me live in it after he “fixed” it, if you beleive that, I have a bridge I can sell you, cheap! “Hostile” takeovers are called that for a reason. If you haven’t been on the receiving end of one, talk to someone who has.

  12. Anon,

    When I need help “fixing” my house, I’ll ask for it. Funny how none of this Yahoo “Doom and Gloom” prognostication was mentioned by anyone BEFORE Microsoft decided to butt in. Yeah, they were going to have a bad quarter, but in this economy, wasn’t everyone?(Unethical, Illegal monopolies excluded of course)
    As far as the benevolent Mr. Ballmer letting me live in it after he “fixed” it, if you beleive that, I have a bridge I can sell you, cheap! “Hostile” takeovers are called that for a reason. If you haven’t been on the receiving end of one, talk to someone who has.

  13. Microsoft needs to create someting of their own, and scale down their web department at the same time.
    They have to many sync offers out there to start with, and they have a brand confusion that is just out there.
    It’s Microsofts management that is off – not Yahoo’s.

  14. Microsoft needs to create someting of their own, and scale down their web department at the same time.
    They have to many sync offers out there to start with, and they have a brand confusion that is just out there.
    It’s Microsofts management that is off – not Yahoo’s.

  15. Robert wrote: “So, don’t expect me to cry about Yahoo.”

    Don’t worry, Scoble, I doubt anyone thinks a loyal Microsoft soldier like you is doing anything other than cheering.

  16. Robert wrote: “So, don’t expect me to cry about Yahoo.”

    Don’t worry, Scoble, I doubt anyone thinks a loyal Microsoft soldier like you is doing anything other than cheering.

  17. There’s NO simple analogies or explanations for this. Nada. None. Period.

    Robert – the epitome of web soundbytes – cannot reduce this to a single image or message. Neither can any of the commenters including Hash or Anon.

    Buinesses fail, others move into the void, yet others grow old and become insignificant…. so on and so forth. It’s life.

    Robert – don’t feel sorry for Yahoo. I just hope it isn’t because you really think the individuals a few levels below the top at Yahoo would have been in for something good if Yahoo took the bait from Microsoft. Not likely.

    There was nothing THAT good that would have come from that hostile offer. No way. And yet – there’s nothing TAT good that is coming because Yahoo defended itself.

    There’s times one has to remove themselves from the politics. Just code away. This would be one of them Robert. Even though you never meant to say this, you did come aross as though MSFT’s hostile – read: UNWANTED – takeover offer was a good thing. As the comments above already pointed out – you should have kept your opinion to yourself.

  18. There’s NO simple analogies or explanations for this. Nada. None. Period.

    Robert – the epitome of web soundbytes – cannot reduce this to a single image or message. Neither can any of the commenters including Hash or Anon.

    Buinesses fail, others move into the void, yet others grow old and become insignificant…. so on and so forth. It’s life.

    Robert – don’t feel sorry for Yahoo. I just hope it isn’t because you really think the individuals a few levels below the top at Yahoo would have been in for something good if Yahoo took the bait from Microsoft. Not likely.

    There was nothing THAT good that would have come from that hostile offer. No way. And yet – there’s nothing TAT good that is coming because Yahoo defended itself.

    There’s times one has to remove themselves from the politics. Just code away. This would be one of them Robert. Even though you never meant to say this, you did come aross as though MSFT’s hostile – read: UNWANTED – takeover offer was a good thing. As the comments above already pointed out – you should have kept your opinion to yourself.

  19. yahoo will be fine … getting rid of deadwood, challenge out of its torpor, should brush off these unwanted and uncreative suitors and move ahead … long term the shareholders will benefit

    stop thinking of the quick payoff, it is an american disease

  20. yahoo will be fine … getting rid of deadwood, challenge out of its torpor, should brush off these unwanted and uncreative suitors and move ahead … long term the shareholders will benefit

    stop thinking of the quick payoff, it is an american disease

  21. The problem with the house analogy is that “you” don’t own your house (Yahoo). You sold it in April of 1996. 2.6 million shares @ $13 a pop.

  22. The problem with the house analogy is that “you” don’t own your house (Yahoo). You sold it in April of 1996. 2.6 million shares @ $13 a pop.

  23. Yahoo is a mediocre company with some very good properties: Yahoo Mail; Yahoo Finance; and Flickr. I USE these services. I don’t want to see Ballmer and his cadre of has-been idiots come in and wreck Yahoo, like they did with HoTMaiL or anything else they’ve took over. If they can’t manage even home-grown services, like MSN, what makes people believe they can manage Yahoo?

    Answer: People DON’T believe this. Some people simply want a “bounce” in the stock price so they can unload Yahoo. These people are stupid; a supremely excellent time to sell Yahoo would have been when it got the little “peaK’ early this year when MSFT announced its tender offer. Of course, some YHOO holders did NOT sell, most likely because they were under water. Well, gee, that’s the hazard of playing tech stocks (or any stock). To believe MSFT would magically offer $40/share or something outrageous to save YOUR tush at this point is as unrealistic as believing George Bush will figure out how to pronounce “Nuclear”.

  24. Yahoo is a mediocre company with some very good properties: Yahoo Mail; Yahoo Finance; and Flickr. I USE these services. I don’t want to see Ballmer and his cadre of has-been idiots come in and wreck Yahoo, like they did with HoTMaiL or anything else they’ve took over. If they can’t manage even home-grown services, like MSN, what makes people believe they can manage Yahoo?

    Answer: People DON’T believe this. Some people simply want a “bounce” in the stock price so they can unload Yahoo. These people are stupid; a supremely excellent time to sell Yahoo would have been when it got the little “peaK’ early this year when MSFT announced its tender offer. Of course, some YHOO holders did NOT sell, most likely because they were under water. Well, gee, that’s the hazard of playing tech stocks (or any stock). To believe MSFT would magically offer $40/share or something outrageous to save YOUR tush at this point is as unrealistic as believing George Bush will figure out how to pronounce “Nuclear”.

  25. The biggest problem with Yahoo! is that they see themselves as a media company, when what they really are (or should be) is an advertising company. Google knows they are an advertising company first and foremost. The services they provide are merely a convenient medium for delivering their ad inventory to the public.

    I worked at Yahoo! for 2.5 years, and wrote up my thoughts on this on my blog recently.
    http://www.kpao.org/blog/2008/07/whats-wrong-with-yahoo-how-to-fix.html

  26. The biggest problem with Yahoo! is that they see themselves as a media company, when what they really are (or should be) is an advertising company. Google knows they are an advertising company first and foremost. The services they provide are merely a convenient medium for delivering their ad inventory to the public.

    I worked at Yahoo! for 2.5 years, and wrote up my thoughts on this on my blog recently.
    http://www.kpao.org/blog/2008/07/whats-wrong-with-yahoo-how-to-fix.html

  27. [...] Robert Scoble looks outside the echo chamber, for a change: I don’t feel sorry for Yahoo. I am thinking back to the first days of this story, back in January. I still remember Maryam, turning to me after I told her that Yahoo was turning down Microsoft. She said “are they crazy?” If a normal person can have that reaction, something must have been wrong inside the leadership of Yahoo. Translation: Yahoo is being burnt to the ground by its current management. more [...]

  28. I personally never liked yahoo, but let me say something about Microsoft. I think they are trying to be the no1. in all the IT areas they can. Once their LiveSearch didn’t hit their expectations on the market they’re going to buy someon who has been more successful on the market so they can force people on a certain way to be more addicted to Microsoft. I personally think that CEO of the company will never be poor hovewer the popularity of his products are going down. I wouldnt be suprised if they would try to buy Google because of being so jelous of the percentage of market google shares in the search engine industry if we can call it this way.

  29. I personally never liked yahoo, but let me say something about Microsoft. I think they are trying to be the no1. in all the IT areas they can. Once their LiveSearch didn’t hit their expectations on the market they’re going to buy someon who has been more successful on the market so they can force people on a certain way to be more addicted to Microsoft. I personally think that CEO of the company will never be poor hovewer the popularity of his products are going down. I wouldnt be suprised if they would try to buy Google because of being so jelous of the percentage of market google shares in the search engine industry if we can call it this way.

  30. You’re right about all of what you wrote, especially on the innovation part. Y! took on alot of smart people in 2005, only to let them leave one after another… so those same smart people will thrive again.

  31. You’re right about all of what you wrote, especially on the innovation part. Y! took on alot of smart people in 2005, only to let them leave one after another… so those same smart people will thrive again.