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article imageOp-Ed: Yahoo is dead — The reasons behind the dinosaur's downfall

By Claudio Buttice     Jul 28, 2016 in Technology
As the dinosaur's downfall seals the end of an era in the history of the Internet, the main question people are asking is "Why did Yahoo fail?" Theory and speculation are raging through the web, but let's give a look at the most reasonable ones.
It's done, it's over. The deal has been sealed, and Verizon has bought Yahoo for $4.8 billion. The wireless provider grabbed all its search tools, content, and other digital properties shortly after they acquired AOL last year. Verizon clearly aims at competing with the other web giants such as Google and Facebook who keep their uncontested domination of the online advertising market. But is really Yahoo worth so little money today?
Yahoo is a real dinosaur that used to trample the vast lands of the Internet back in the early 2000s. It was the main door through which we entered the world wide web, the first portal to "virtual reality" as we imagined it at the beginning of the current century. As one of the most visited destinations on the Internet, Yahoo once peaked at a staggering $125 billion value. But then, everything started falling down as its executives and founders did not manage its unexpected growth. As one of its product managers explained on Quora, between 2005 and 2010 the company lacked any form of internal communication on its strategic priorities, while its top talents were rapidly replaced by many "B-players" as the hiring bar was lowered. Yahoo's products started becoming vastly inferior to its competitors, yet no one among the execs showed the "guts" to admit the failure.
In 2006, in its famous "Peanut Butter Manifesto," Yahoo's former Senior Vice President Brad Garlinghouse explained how the company was spreading its resources too thinly. Its objectives were blurry and lacked focus, its vision incohesive and its executives unaccountable. When co-founder Jerry Yang became the new CEO, the employees thought he could save Yahoo from its downwards spiral towards self-destruction, but they were wrong. Under his leadership more than 100 key executives were lost due to his dysfunctional reorganization plan, draining the company of many of its best talents. Back in 2008, Microsoft offered $48 billion to buy Yahoo, but the deal never became a reality and the ship continued its inevitable sinking.
After several other not-so-competent CEOs were rapidly swapped, finally in 2012 the board appointed the acclaimed Marissa Mayer, and media, investors, and employees rejoiced. Her strategy mainly focused on making Yahoo evolve into a predominantly mobile company. She bought Tumblr and tripled Yahoo’s mobile audience in the upcoming years — but like the previous executives, she kept changing her mind over and over again, wasting billions of dollars in strategies that were abandoned after a short time. She bought at least 50 startups, most of which were later shut down. She burned down the company's finances on hiring a lot of "big shots" who were eventually fired. She threw a lot of enticing parties for the Valley elite while she boasted a lavish and smartly unique fashion sense, but she totally failed in providing Yahoo with his own identity to beat its competitors with.
Today Yahoo met its final demise at the hands of Verizon. Is that a bad thing? Who knows. Maybe we can finally see the dinosaur's much-awaited rebirth.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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