Yahoo 1.1 Revealed

May 28, 2009

At the categorical affirmative “All Things Digital” Conference, Yahoo 1.1 was revealed. In an interview with Carol Bartz (Yahoo’s new CEO) conducted by Kara Swisher, information about Yahoo Version 1.1 was reveled. A blizzard of posts appeared on but I gravitated to John Paczkowski’s “Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz: We’re a Different Company than Google” here. For me, the killer comment in Mr. Paczkowski’s story was this explanation of Yahoo:

We use great technology to deliver search, content, advertising.

Mr. Paczkowski included a remarkable bit of local color, noting that Kara pointed out that former Yahooligan Terry Semel and Yahooliganette Sue Decker were in the audience.

Other points I thought interesting included:

  • Ms. Bartz wants improve and integrate Yahoo’s services
  • Yahoo email has to be made more simple
  • Social network services are of interest
  • Buying online ads must be made less complex
  • Google “does not have the positioning and reach” of Yahoo.

In my opinion, Yahoo has a technology challenge. No large company will have homogeneous systems. The key is to have more homogeneity than stray cats and dogs. My analysis of Yahoo considers ads, traffic, and brand, but the iceberg that sank the Titantic looked small until it sank the ship. Yahoo’s iceberg is the cost of its technology; that is, there are costs that are tough to control due to the tech cats and dogs. As a result, Yahoo has fewer degrees of tech freedom and runs the risk of a cost spike that can puncture the hull of Yahoo 1.1.

Time may be running out, and it is not clear if a sugar daddy can rescue Yahoo. Yahoo is hanging tough. Yahoo may be following the same path that AOL took in its quest to become the Internet portal of choice. Didn’t work at AOL. Will it work at Yahoo? Ms. Bartz has confidence and a great track record. That technology iceberg is a threat that may be tough for a management strategist to deal with. I am not so sure about the “great technology” assertion. It’s Yahoo 1.1., not Yahoo 2.0 in my opinion.

Stephen Arnold, May 28, 2009


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