Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

    In 2000, Yahoo! was worth $255 billion and now it’s $35 billion. Seems like a large figure still until you consider that the core assets of Yahoo are up for sale because it is failing (which is ironic as Google is one of the possible bidders). But how? Almost every person I know had a Yahoo email address as their first ever. Now a majority of us barely remember our passwords! What went wrong?

    1. Of the $35 billion market cap, Yahoo!’s stake in e – commerce giant Alibaba accounts for $30 billion! That means its core assets – search, Yahoo mail, and Yahoo Finance – are worth just around $3 billion. In other words, its core business is, in the grander scheme of things, worthless.

    2. Yahoo had the chance to buy Facebook and Google back in the day! Mark Zuckerberg had already agreed to sell for $1.1 billion. At that time, Yahoo was still a beast and its earnings report shot up its share price that they were only willing to give $800 million for Facebook. Mark refused, he wanted his billion and the deal fell through.  For a silly $300 million, Yahoo missed the chance to own the current world’s largest social network with 1.65 billion monthly active users.

    3. Yahoo had many offerings but no core business. Was it a technology company pushing search? Was it a media company providing news? Even a senior Vice President, Brad Garlinghouse, called it the “peanut butter effect” describing their lack of focus on one product and how they spread their resources too thinly. No one particular product stuck completely with users – in each one, a better rival came. Google search took out Yahoo search. Gmail took out Yahoo Mail. Panama lost to Google Adwords. Agh, they should have just bought Google when they had the chance in 2002 for $5 billion (Yahoo had offered $3 billion but Google was okay to go for $5 billion)

    4. Yahoo failed to move from the desktop world to a mobile first and social centric one. Right now 79% of Facebook’s $5.38 billion came from mobile! Why. Did. They. Not. Acquire. Facebook?

    5. Did you know that Yahoo bought Flickr, a photo sharing website much similar to Instagram for $35 million in 2005! Facebook at that time was still a baby confined to Harvard University users and years before it gobbled up photo sharing and about 7 years before it bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, the undoubted winner in social photo sharing now. Instagram was even started in 2010 which gave Yahoo 5 years headstart if they saw the potential they were sitting on with Flickr. Maybe it was just too far ahead of its time on this one. Mobile hadn’t taken off the way it has now (Android definitely boosted smartphone uptake and its official first release was only in September 2008) so maybe Yahoo relaxed and didn’t keep up with possible trends that could have benefited Flickr.

    There are potentially other issues that went wrong including maybe lack of CEOs who matured with the company to give it a long-term vision. Whatever happened and will happen, rest easy old giant.

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