Reflections On Yahoo by Vivek Monteiro

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Today when  someone asks us a question we do not know the answer to, what do we say? “Google it.” This term may not necessarily always be referring to itself, but it is evident that Yahoo! has lost the monopoly it once held as premiere search engine.

Yahoo, a company worth 128 billion dollars in 2000, has shrunk to a mere five billion within 15 years..

A little over 10 years ago, Yahoo was developed by two graduate students at Stanford, Jerry Yang and David Filo. The company grew from being a simple search engine, eventually offering  chat rooms, sport overviews, games, movie exclusives, auctions, and online shopping.

The company’s rapid growth was not matched with proper investments in its new sites which would have  allowed the company to enter new growing fields. It was definitely not due to a shortage of money as Yahoo! was one of the most valuable companies during its expansion in websites.

The decision was made to keep the stock price from falling by not investing in more employees and new technologies that would improve the function and efficiency of  its newer sites. Soon enough, Yahoo! saw the repercussions of failing to do so.

Who would have thought that Google’s search engine was formed almost five years after Yahoo and now holds a 68 percent market share on searches made in the United States.

Along with Google, other new startups began perfecting the ideas Yahoo created; Facebook replaced the once popular Yahoo chatrooms, Ebay replaced the auction base, and Amazon became  the dominator of online shopping.

Yahoo failed to respond to the threats from these smaller companies and, to some extent, this was expected. Once a company becomes a multinational corporation, it has many factors to consider, the most important being their numerous shareholders. In comparison, a startup has the  freedom to do what it wants at a more leisurely pace as it has less of an impact on the world as a whole.

Yahoo has been churning through C.E.O.s. like a baby does with his mother’s milk with Scott Thompson, the most recent C.E.O. to be kicked out the door accused of fabricating a computer-science degree by a large shareholder shortly before his resignation.

Since 2012, Yahoo! has been led by Marissa Mayer, one of the first 20 people to join Google who has led the company in a controversial tenure. She has acquired multiple startups and is attempting to bring Yahoo! back to a leading position in the Silicon Valley.

However, in an attempt to express how much she has valued the time she has spent at Yahoo up until this point, she began reading from a children’s book “Bobby Had a Nickel” (Mayer has a three year old son). She took the stage at the most popular Yahoo cafeteria and began reading for all of the employees to listen. The story was about a little boy named Bobby trying decide how he would spend his nickel.

Mayer’s attempt to bring analogy to the time she has spent at Yahoo left most of the cafeteria dumbfounded.

Yahoo! is a sinking ship that can only be saved if it invests in the next Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram. With the odds against this once victorious search engine, it is time for  Yahoo! to look at the reality… the company is not making money and is declining with just about every quarterly earnings reported.

In the same way Homo neanderthals went into extinction with the new species of humans known as Homo sapiens, Yahoo! needs to accept the fact that it is an endangered species on the verge of extinction.

Written by Vivek Monteiro

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