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It wasn't all her fault, but Carol Bartz's resignation as CEO of Yahoo likely will be remembered as the final straw that broke the back of the once-great Internet company. Bartz oversaw the deal that essentially gifted Yahoo's search revenue stream to Microsoft and abandoned future search ambitions by allowing its engine to be powered by Bing. Bartz was dealt a really difficult hand by the former custodians of Yahoo but her direction for the company seemed flawed from the start. From all of her rhetoric, it was clear from the outset that she did not hold search as a particularly important aspect of Yahoo's holdings and she doubled down on display advertising efforts. In my opinion, this was a big mistake.

When Bartz took over, people in my business talked about Google, Yahoo and Microsoft–in that order–when discussing the search landscape. Google was the juggernaut but Yahoo was the company that first began to invest in building out a revenue model to accompany their popular search engine. Yahoo purchased Overture, they rebranded it, they relaunched it, they tailored it, they supported it and, ultimately, under Bartz's stewardship, they discarded it. Now, when people talk about search, they mention Google and Bing; Yahoo very justly doesn't enter the conversation. It's a shame that Yahoo has suffered this fate when they were once so innovative or, at least, so good at recognizing innovative companies to acquire and paths to pursue. 

There is clearly room for two or more players in the field of search; it's sad that Yahoo lost its footing in that field without even putting up a fight. I wish the best of luck to Bart, to the company that she's leaving and to the company that lands with. She's an extremely capable person by all accounts that just didn't have the right tools or ideas to save Yahoo. I hope that this isn't the last we'll hear from Yahoo but it's going to be even tougher for Bartz's successor to turn the company around than it was for her. [Forbes]
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