Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

YHOO: Semel's Departure Signals Return to Roots

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 18, 2007

When Yahoo! appointed Terry Semel as CEO it marked an understanding that it is a media company. Mr Semel came from the top ranks of California media industry and he was to lead Yahoo! into the next phase of its growth.

But Yahoo! was too early in this transition. It realized that it is a media company, which was good but it hadn't realized that there was still a lot of money left on the table in terms of using technologies to publish media. This gave Google a way to break into the market and build up its business using servers and algorithms to publish pages of content and advertising.

Yahoo! was using media professionals to do similar things, but people are more expensive than a bank of servers running software, which is a far more scalable business model.

Similar Roots

The roots of the two companies are extremely similar. The founders of both companies went to Stanford University. Both companies flourished on the back of search. And both companies used inexpensive PC platforms to build out their services.

Chief Yahoo

Yahoo! now returns to its roots with Jerry Yang, the co-founder taking the CEO position. I remember interviewing Mr Yang in a dingy two room office space in a strip mall in SIlicon Valley, just after the company recieved a $1m VC investment. I still have the business card Mr Yang gave me, "Chief Yahoo" it said.

As "Chief Yahoo" Mr Yang will bring the company back to its technology roots and that's where it stands to gain the most. It left far too much money on the table for Google when it moved away from its technology roots.

Additional Info:

YHOO news analysis: GOOG is setting the pace as Yahoo faces identity and leadership crisis

Yahoo's hastily engineered reorganization does away with key leaders within the company: Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig and Lloyd Braun, the head of Yahoo's media and entertainment group, are leaving the company, Yahoo...

Posted by Tom Foremski on December 6, 2006 2:15 AM


Will Yahoo's top engineers reveal secret technology projects?

I hit it big on Friday: I got a very decent-sized mention on Jeremy Zawodny’s blog, in an entry titled Tom Foremski on Google and Yahoo Culture. Jeremy, an engineer at Yahoo, is a big,... [Edit]

Posted by Tom Foremski on December 13, 2004 6:27 AM

Stuff you didn't know about Google---a report from the 2003 Googleplex Xmas party

The Google media Christmas party is coming up next Thursday, which should be interesting. I'm not expecting much in terms of Google news items now that it's a public company, but there should be plenty...

Posted by Tom Foremski on December 10, 2004 6:00 AM

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