In a surprise announcement, Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang has said that he’s stepping down from all positions in the company, and from the board of directors of Alibaba, effective immediately. In a letter to the Yahoo! chairman Roy Bostock, Yang wrote: "My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of …
Jerry Yang will only ever be remembered as the bloke who turned down $45 billion from Microsoft for something that is now worth a whole less less.
It's right up there with the apocryphal story concerning Gary Kildall, IBM and an aeroplane.
You're making the assumption that success is defined by making money. I own my own business, and I were in a position where the future of my family was assured monetarily, I'd fight to the death to keep my company mine. My company name might as well be my name, and it takes a hell of a lot of motivation to let someone take your name from you.
I don't know Mr.! Yang! personally, but based on the few bits of information I've seen, I wouldn't be surprised if his rejection of MS was not only an effort to prevent his company from being snagged, but was motivated by a genuine belief that the company would be better off without the sale. Sometimes people still think past the next quarter. Rarely, but sometimes... Perhaps Mr. Yang is one of them.
Mr Yang may think past a single quarter but that hasn't helped him stop Yahoo's gradual decline.
Sometimes you have to let go. Yahoo is bigger than him.
Noble but contains 2 small fallacies
1. Mr Wang no longer solely owned the business once it went public
2. Genuine belief that company would be better off needs to be substantiated with a strategy
Yahoo was floundering for years without - outsider view - any obvious value proposition, differentiator or strategy whereby it would offer value over and above the MS bid for it's owners re: shareholders.
FWIW I do believe in long-term greed i.e. sustainable growth and profit beyond the next quarter or financial year. However, couldn't see it with Yahoo then, couldn't believe MS seriously offered the size of the bid in the then market conditions, was flabbergasted that Yahoo turned it down, and still cannot see how Yahoo will even get anywhere near that valuation - if anything it's competitiveness is much worse after yet another couple of years of burying it's head in the sand.
Replace "Wang" with "Yang"
Damn you, failure to proof-read!
@ David W.
It's not his company once it's gone public. It's the shareholders'.
If the company's stocks are in decline and there's no strategy to reverse that trend and some big beast with huge pockets offers you a massively inflated price for the company the choice is pretty obvious.
Yahoo! was a going concern, unlike the vast majority of dot.com companies which only ever existed in order to get acquired by some googly-eyed buyer.
Now, PointCast... *that* was stupid.
...it was bumbling along and not about to go bust but investors realised it wasn't going to get a whole lot more profitable, therefore the value was falling. A lot of Yahoo's value was based on the typical .com equation:
1.) Get lots of users.
2.) Something happens.
Once investors realised that all the (2.) had happened Yahoo's value had to fall back to plain old reality.
Yang was too egotistical and emotionally attached to the company he started, that's pretty much why he turned down what was an incredible offer for the company. He was not a good businessman.
The outstanding deal offer by Microsoft for the company would have benefited the owners of the company (the shareholders) and he made a grievous error in turning it down. As CEO, he outright failed the majority owners of the company.
Longer term, he will be seen to have failed the employees too as they find themselves being made redundant as the company cuts costs to stave off a falling valuation. That's assuming it hasn't filed for bankruptcy (or is bought for a pittance) in a few more years - time has passed Yahoo! by and it really is now a dinosaur from the dot.com era.
Jerry Yang was a fool because his pride and ego went before hard business sense - if he had a winning strategy to turn Yahoo! around then fair enough he would have been correct to hold on to the company and add value, but it was clear then and even clearer now that he didn't any such strategy.
His ego deprived the shareholders of a very fair return on their investment, and his ego deprived the employees of a surer future working for Microsoft.
He's a total fool.
"It's not his company once it's gone public. It's the shareholders'."
Maybe legally, and maybe sometimes morally, but I can tell you from personal experience that, for a real (ie, not someone who starts a MLM business selling Alpacas after seeing an ad in Popular Mechanics) entrepreneur, it is always, always, ALWAYS *yours*.
Your child might grow up, move, disavow you, or be sold into slavery - or you might sell -it- into slavery - but it will nonetheless always be your child. You can't undo it, I don't care how many lawyers you throw at it. You see, ironically enough, it isn't about business. If you don't understand that, then you don't understand entrepreneurs.
@David W - "the company is always yours"
Remind me *never* to invest in a company that YOU think is still YOURS after you have taken it to an IPO. You may remain emotionally attached, but it's no longer YOURS and for you to maintain that it is still YOURS is both incredibly naiive (from a personal business point of view) and incredibly dangerous (from a shareholders point of view).
Once you go public, you sell the company to people that invest their hard earned cash. You no longer have any right to consider the company as "yours" once you have profited from this public offering - anyone that thinks they do is not an entrepreneur but an egotistical dick wad with very little business acumen.
Entrepreneurs know how to run a business, to make a profit from that business and to get out when the time is right, so that they can repeat the trick.
Entrepreneurs do NOT run businesses as vanity projects, and do not run the business into the ground until finally, once it's all too late, they are told to sling their hook as their emotional attachment but poor business judgement is simply not conducive to the sound running of the business..
People that run companies as vanity projects end up being forced to quit the company. Business 101.
Main value of Yahoo! = email = SPAM!
I think Yahoo's cancer is that they never got serious about stopping the spammers. Much as I despise all things Microsoft (including the acquired Hotmail), you have to admit that Microsoft has been quite sincere and effective in going after the spammers upstream. Google has done a better job downstream, though not that good. At least Gmail seems to have fewer false negatives these days, though I'd rate them about equal on false positives.
Consider two characteristics of spam:
(1) The vast majority of recipients hate it, but the spammers profit by reaching the few suckers who will send money (or personal information).
(2) The spammer can't obfuscate beyond what humans can understand because the suckers are human beings. Idiotic human beings, but still human.
If Yahoo had ever offered effective anti-spam tools, would you have volunteered a bit of your time to help put the spammers out of business? I sure would, but it doesn't really matter about you unless you think you speak for something like 99.5% of the people. Even if there were only a small percentage of spam-hating people who were willing to help fight the spammers (with the anti-spammer tools the Yahoo never created), that would still vastly outnumber the suckers and would cut the spammers off from their crass profits. (Hint: Think of SpamCop on steroids, with several rounds of analysis and confirmation and going after ALL of the spammers accomplices.)
No stranger to blacklists
Yahoo stopped being serious about their own spammers. Yahoo is easy for spammers to exploit yet nearly impossible for victims file a complaint. The rest of the world has responded by tuning Yahoo's spam scoring high into the false-positive range. Yahoo's attempts to expand beyond simple portal services can only fail because they can't reliably send e-mail anymore.
Really? I can think of a lot of things in which I could find fault at Yahoo, but I still have a yahoo account and I can't remember the last time that a spam message made it through the filters and ended up in my inbox. Probably less than 5 messages total in the last 3 years. I have found their anti-spam to be significantly BETTER than Gmail's.
Yahoo! Spam! Filter! Not! Bad!
In my experience, but then again I don't go round giving my e-mail address to all and sundry.
My Yahoo account never receives any SPAM. More than I can say for my Hotmail account. And I use the Yahoo variant more hence more likelihood of being "known". So no, your argument doesn't hold water.
anti_spam(Gmail) > anti_spam(Yahoo)
At least in my experience. YMMV, etc.
"Yahoo! shares rose on the news."
Ouch, that's gotta sting, just a little bit.
Yahoo!? It's still going?
Seriously, it's not dead?
Think the expression is twitching.
17 years and not a single bloody thing to show for it. I hope he's motivated by money, because that's all Yahoo! has to achieved - fleecing money off gullible investors.
WTF is yahoo!? I've never seen it. Is it like hello! magazine?
Is it rule you lot have whenever there is a Yahoo! story to have! the! headline! like! this! Seems you do it every Yahoo! related story
Type your comment here - plain text only, no HTML
Yes! it's! been! like! this! on! El! Reg! for! years!
In the beginning there was Yahoo (note without the !), around 1995. This was good, but Google was better.
Why go back to Yahoo! when it's full of advertising crap. Google was a paragon of peace in comparison. Even! Yahoo! written! in! a! sentence! gets! on! one's! tit!
Yahoo was not the first (remember Excite?) and was never a particularly good search engine, it was more of a directory really, and it certainly never held anything like the dominant position now occupied by 'big G'.
My recollection is that Alta Vista was the best choice generally until Google popped up and crushed the competition. Ironically, Alta Vista is now just a dessicated appendage of the increasingly irrelevant Yahoo.
...used Alta Vista. Yahoo has never had a search from me.
Bye Yang, thanks for deciding to pull Geocities!!
Was I the only one
who read that as Yahoo! confounder?
Yahoo! was! my! first!
Yahoo! took my search virginity... then I started dating AltaVista. I flirted with MSN Search but we never went out. Excite failed to excite... I let them all toolbar my browser... but it was Google who stole my heart... the bastard!
I met him once...
when we were both graduate students. He was nice enough, but he didn't strike me as the brightest bulb. Then again, he can now buy me thousands of times over, so that shows pretty well who the bigger fool is.
I met him a couple of times when I worked at Yahoo in the late 90's - I almost fell out of his hotel window at the end of one particularly drunken evening when the entire UK office went there to continue partying. He was a thoroughly nice guy, and seemed more concerned with having fun flying around visiting the international offices than in running the company. Which is far more admirable than fellow Yahoo founder David Filo, who was a workaholic who even slept in his cube rather than go home on occasion.
El! Reg! Needs! New! Yahoo! Joke!
Seriously guys it's been getting old for a while now.