Whats in Yahoo’s Future?
Yahoo’s long nightmare is over, having eventually offloaded its search business to Microsoft after years of rumours, talks and reversals.
Now all it’s got to do is work out what comes next. A new age at Yahoo started the minute Chairman Carol Bartz signed the forms turning over a right to conduct searches on Yahoo’s great network of sites to Microsoft in return for 88 % of the income generated by Microsoft’s Bing. Now Yahoo is first and most important a media company, in the business of enticing as many folks to its properties as practical in the hope of selling moneymaking ad deals on those pages. This system has not always worked on the web.
But Bartz appears to have decided that Yahoo doesn’t have the capability or the will to take on Google without delay, disagreeing the company should concentrate on what it does best and leave the technology to others. While that potentially came as a little bit of a shock to the various engineers working on search technology within Yahoo, Bartz hasn’t exactly been hiding her aspirations for Yahoo over the last 8 months. “We’re not a search company,” Bartz expounded flat-out in June, discussing how Yahoo is a different company than Google or Microsoft. Now that she’s made that excellence official, what’s Yahoo?
“It’s where folk find applicable and contextual information,” Bartz expounded in May at the D : All Things Digital meeting, obviously having imagined a post-search Yahoo. That’s a content company, turning the focus to how Yahoo should produce the sort of content and services that may keep existing users coming back for more and attract new ones to the site. Some started to wonder on Wed. if Yahoo just turned itself into a larger, purpler AOL. On the services side, some areas, like Yahoo Mail, Flickr, and Messenger, are obviously where Yahoo is unlikely to take its foot off the gas pedal.
Same for Yahoo’s mobile method, a part of the web that is pretty much up for grabs, in contrast to the more grown up PC-oriented Net experience. So Yahoo isn’t getting out of the technology business completely. Yahoo will continue to want paths to keep its new index page hooked into the wider sector of social networking, real time communication, and things we haven’t even thought of yet, which will need smart, savvy engineering. But on the content side, Yahoo will have to work out whether it wants to grow its current offerings, pare down some of the less often used products, or tap the outsourcing plan in this area too.
There’s been a lot of turnover in recent times at Yahoo, but there are possibly enough folk left who remember the last time Yahoo attempted to play an outstanding role in planning its own content, it didn’t end well. Is Yahoo on a trail to turning into the world’s largest content assembly site? If that is so there are much more costs that may be wrung out of its varied products : what number of folks are needed to supply OMG. ? Does Yahoo Sports need all those writers? Couldn’t the company just hire some folks to keep the site full of content from partners and save a shipload without losing traffic?
Yahoo did not want to make anybody available Wed. to share the company’s broad vision beyond its grit to make its exit from the search arena official. Investors , who obviously now understand that they’ll never see anything near to the $33-a-share offer that Microsoft originally dangled in front of founder Jerry Yang, will shortly be impatient to see the long term plan, now a search deal has been worked out. There’s enough assured money in the deal to keep things quiet for a bit, but it’s going to take two years–at minimum–for it to substantially shape the company.