Fred Vogelstein from Wired News has put together a lengthy article on how Yahoo! has blown it over the years in trying to position itself as the leader in search. The article looks at the many mistakes Yahoo!’s CEO, Terry Semel, has made along the way which to this day still has them playing catch up to their biggest rival, Google. It all began with their failure to buy the search giant back in 2002 and the cycle has continued up to today.
Yahoo!’s first mistake was their failure to buy Google. They had offered a whopping $3 billion in the summer of 2002 but Google refused to be bought at that price. They were actually thought to be worth $5 billion at the time but Semel refused to pay that much. That valuation pales in comparison to their current valuation of $147 billion. The article goes on to highlight the failures that followed including the length of time it took Yahoo! to revamp the antiquated Overture system so that it could compete with Google AdWords.
Vogelstein seems to place the majority of the blame for Yahoo!’s failures on Semel himself pointing out that he never acquired an intuitive sense of the company’s plumbing. “He understands how to do deals and partnerships, he gets how to market Yahoo’s brand, and he knows how to tap Yahoo’s giant user base to sell brand advertising to corporations, but failed in the challenges of integrating two giant computer systems, redesigning a database or redoing a user interface,” Vogelstein writes obviously referring to integrating Overture into Yahoo!
It is a lengthy article but an excellent read. Check it out at Wired News.