Headline April 11, 2015/ ''' YAHOO IN SOUL '''


YAHOO DID SPEND billions on whole host of other deals, many of which should have given Yahoo a lead in everything that matters today.

From social networking to photo sharing, but it all got lost inside the amalgamation that Yahoo became. In fact, Yahoo came to be known as a place where start-ups went to die.

Perhaps more important, says yet another former executive, Yahoo's technology was never suited to building applications. ''If you want to build apps, you had to use Yahoo technology that wasn't what anyone in their right mind built apps with,'' says this person.

''So no one did. It was too hard.'' Indeed, he points out, the last hot product Yahoo successfully built internally was Fantasy Sports, which launched in 1998.

Semel left, and in 2007, Yang stepped in as C.E.O. While he is beloved in the Valley, he is not regarded as someone who likes to make tough decisions. Famously, he turned down an offer from Microsoft to buy Yahoo for $31 a share in cash and stock.

Eventually, Yahoo cut a search deal with Microsoft, which no longer wanted to buy the whole company; the deal, in which Yahoo leased Bing, Microsoft's search technology has not performed well.

''Yahoo gave up its soul as a search engine,'' says Danny Sullivan, the founding editor of Search Engine Land.

By that point, Carol Bartz, the tough talking  former C.E.O of Autodesk, was running Yahoo. In September 2011, the board fired her over the phone. Yahoo was traumatized.

''There were a lot of people who were burned, burned out,'' says a former executive. Multiple former and current Yahoo employees talk about the friction, the lack of clear decision-making, the bureaucracy- 

The red-tape that wore people down and just wouldn't do anything at all. In an age of smartphone, Yahoo people still had BlackBerrys. 

Enter Dan Loeb. On Wall Street, Loeb is known for his acerbic attacks on company executives, and right when Bartz was fired he took a 5 percent stake and demanded that his handpicked people be put on the board.

It was not really Yahoo itself that Loeb wanted. Whatever mistakes Semel had made, his executive team had done two deals that more than compensated for the missed opportunities.

One was a Japanese venture called Yahoo Japan; Yahoo owns 35% of it. The other, far more important one was the 40 percent stake Yahoo took in 2005 in a Chinese company called Alibaba.

Alibaba has become the Chinese equivalent of eBay and Amazon mixed together, and by the fall of 2011 it was clear to the Wall Street Intelligentsia that, whenever Alibaba sold shares to the public, it was going to be extraordinarily valuable.

People familiar with Loeb's thesis say that he thought there might be a few dollars a share of value in Yahoo itself, but the main driver of his purchase was Alibaba.

The board, instead of taking Loeb seriously, refused to return his calls and hired as Yahoo's new C.E.O Scott Thompson, a former eBay executive, who immediately announced plans to lay off 2,000 of Yahoo's 14,000 employees. Hedge-fund manager Robert Chapman says he advised Thompson to handle things differently.

''I told him,  'Give [Loeb] board seats. Once he's inside, he won't trouble you. Don't let your ego get in the way.' But he didn't take my advice.'' Adds Chapman, '' Dan is the kind of guy who is going to get revenge.''

He is, and he did. Another former Yahoo executive recalls sitting around a table with roughly 16 others at an off-site meeting that Thompson held for top executives in the spring of 2012. Suddenly, Thompson got up and walked out, followed by his P.R. person and Yahoo's general-counsel.

He didn't come back for about 30 minutes, and when he did return, he gave no explanation for his absence. One of the people in the room soon found breaking news on AllThingsD: Loeb had sent a letter to Yahoo's board pointing out that-

While Thompson's official Yahoo biography said he had a degree in computer science, that wasn't actually true, ''We all said, 'Holy Shit!' ''

Thompson was gone just 130 days after he'd become C.E.O., and Loeb got the board seats he  coveted  -three of them. He also insisted that a director he had brought along, former MTV executive Michael Wolf, be a part of the search committee for a new C.E.O.

In the meantime, Yahoo appointed Ross Levinsohn, the company's former head of global media, as interim C.E.O. Wolf soon came back and said, according to people familiar with events:

''I think we can get Marissa Meyer. She's had some issues, and I think she's looking.''

The Honour and Serving of the ''operational technology research'' continues. Thank you all, for reading,  -and, maybe learning.

With respectful dedication to all the users of Yahoo. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' A Community Divided '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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