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Yahoo Co-Founder Yang Now In Charge 91

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the psst-hey-jerry-i-got-some-ideas-for-ya dept.
Raver32 writes "Yahoo Inc. Chairman Terry Semel ended his six-year tenure as chief executive officer today and will hand over the reins to co-founder Jerry Yang in the Internet icon's latest attempt to regain investor confidence. Semel, 64, will remain chairman in a non-executive role. Besides naming Yang as its new CEO, Yahoo appointed Susan Decker as its president. Decker, who had been recently promoted to oversee Yahoo's advertising operations, had widely been seen as Semel's heir apparent."
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Yahoo Co-Founder Yang Now In Charge

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  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:35AM (#19564171) Journal
    Yahoo has been run into the ground because it was treated like a telcom. The employees have minimal incentive to really innovate. If they return to treating employees like part owners (the way they use and the way that Google currently does), then they stand a chance to compete. Until then, they will remain a second rate search engine.
    • by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:43AM (#19564249)

      Until then, they will remain a second rate search engine.
      Giving John Doe in software development a raise and stock options will not make Yahoo! the number one search engine. Changing their business plan (if they have one) and offering something that every other search engine doesn't will.
      • by jb.cancer (905806) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:58AM (#19564407)

        Giving John Doe in software development a raise and stock options will not make Yahoo! the number one search engine. Changing their business plan (if they have one) and offering something that every other search engine doesn't will.
        and how do you think they'll come up with that 'something innovative'. No matter what kind of process/model you follow it's the *people* who work there that will make the difference. Remember, not everyone is a John Doe, and those special people need to feel like the place where they work is part of them in order to motivate them and get the best. otherwise it's just a matter of time. so i go with GP.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TubeSteak (669689)

          and how do you think they'll come up with that 'something innovative'. No matter what kind of process/model you follow it's the *people* who work there that will make the difference.

          Do you really think that most innovation from multinational corporations is driven internally?

          Traditionally, large corporations 'innovate' through acquisitions, licensing or they just outright steal ideas.

          Example:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_acquis itions [wikipedia.org]
          And that list doesn't include patents or software they've li

        • I realize this is just my perception (i.e. it's not accurate, just the way I'm made to feel) and that it's been engineered (by Google at least):

          When I use Google, I feel that I'm being served the best possible way.
          When I use Yahoo, I feel that they do the minimum to make as much money from me in the short term (I feel used). I used Yahoo messenger and Yahoo mail a long time ago and if I didn't pay the premium I was going to be advertised to hell.

          Again, I know Google is not benevolent (I'm not an idiot) but
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        Exactly how do you think Google innovates? They do it by giving 'John Doe in software development a raise and stock options', as well as other benefits, and encourage him to try new things. Because he's happy and they'll let him, he'll FEEL like trying new things. If John Doe makes an average salary and isn't encouraged to innovate, he's going to keep his head down so he won't lose his job for screwing up the new idea he had.

        If you really think Yahoo can just say 'We need something new.' and a suit is go
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:14AM (#19564565) Homepage

      Until then, they will remain a second rate search engine.

      Yahoo doesn't see itself as a search engine, they see themselves as a portal. Of course the demographic they're aiming for has changed recently.

      I'm not sure why anyone would go to Yahoo anymore. I used to house all crap "we need an email address" email at yahoo, but after having to read about some idiotic thing Britney or Paris did, or some foolish article about "Office tips you should follow!" for the umpteenth time on the front page of Yahoo, I've moved my crap email to Google.

      Yahoo seems to think it's ideal customer is the bubble-headed bleach blond who's thinking about being a "career man/woman" now. It's basically Glamor on the Internet. I'm sure there's a market for that, but it seems strange that was supposed to be a billion dollar company is aiming for that small demographic.
      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:23AM (#19564659) Homepage
        Why would anyone go to "www.yahoo.com" anyway? If you're using Yahoo for your email, go to "my.yahoo.com" instead and customize the page. I never see that sort of bubble gum crap on my front page because I don't have that module. With the My Yahoo customization and adblocker, I get a nice, subdued page with news coming in from various reputable wire services.

        Of course, using the site in conjunction with adblocker in order to make it look good probably isn't what they had in mind, but oh well.
      • by wdr1 (31310) * <wdr1@p o b o x .com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @10:56AM (#19565833) Homepage Journal
        Yahoo doesn't see itself as a search engine, they see themselves as a portal.

        Yes and no. I worked there for five years -- while Yahoo has obviously always had the portal-side, the "we're not a search engine" bit was dropped years ago, when Inktomi [wikipedia.org] was purchased.

        For the last two years at least, Search has been a major focus for the company.

        -Bill
      • by denidoom (865832) *
        I kind of like bubblegum. I also like KDE, and I like Mac OSX. There is a rising interest in pop culture and I think Yahoo is trying to go for that market. It's not as small of demographic as you think. I seem to remember back a while ago some big entertainment company gave a lot of money to yahoo... sony? someone like that.

        But the commenter below is right... who goes to the homepage anyway? I use yahoo movies, groups, and mail and just go directly there. Recently they gave me unlimited storage in my

      • by tknd (979052)

        I'm not sure why anyone would go to Yahoo anymore.

        Off the top of my head, I can think of plenty of people that use yahoo. My parents, my aunt, my coworker. The thing I've noticed with yahoo is that they have always tried very hard to cover a wide range of information and they've always tried to make that obvious. They're essentially what AOL tried to do but better. For some people (geeks and people that only care about getting one thing done) that isn't ok, but for many people, that is actually better

        • by Aczlan (636310)

          And Google is any better? Google Mail has this really annoying blue bar at the top of the "body" section of your email controls that shows you information totally unrelated to mail. In fact, right now, it is showing me the following: "Yahoo! News: Entertainment News - Milan To Create a Via Versace (Fashion Wire Daily) - 2½ hours ago." Every time I see it I loathe it because meaningful titles (like the email title) or controls/buttons should go there. Not some stupid link that's cleverly disguised.

          you do realise that you can turn that off in settings???
          go to Settings > Webclips > and there unclick the box marked "Show my web clips above the Inbox"... should take 45 secs...

    • $6.5B in gross income, $3.7B in gross profit, $37B in market cap?

      Oh, that I could be so second rate!
      • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:59AM (#19565131) Journal
        Current income does not mean SQUAT. Just 4 years ago, GM was one of the top companies. Likewise, Pure Oil companies are on top of the world (well in america). What matters is how you are set up for the long-term.

        Currently, Yahoo is declining and will continue until they change how they do business. As it is, they treat them like a large telcomm. They have AVERAGE pay, AVERAGE benefits, AVERAGE managers, and worst of all, no ownership of ideas. Business ppl and marketing is in control of Yahoo. Google did the smart thing and has marketing working in collaboration WITH techies. That is, techies are developing ideas (labs.google.com) and then marketing looks at how to integrate. Yahoo has marketing telling techies what to do. Sadly, Yahoo has the same type marketing ppl that every other company has; Worthless followers. Yahoo will continue to fall UNLESS they have learned.

        And yes, their search engine is 2'nd rate.
        • by anomaly (15035)
          Many many many times, mediocre is good enough to allow companies to remain significantly profitable, even with poor leadership.

          If you consider $3B in profits to be "continuing to fail" then I'd love to see your definition of success!

          Perhaps Yahoo is focusing on a market who simply doesn't understand that it *could* be better than Yahoo currently is. No one goes out of business underestimating the lack of intelligence in the population. Lowest common denominator can make lots of money. Perhaps it's their
          • by Bluesman (104513) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @11:02AM (#19565935) Homepage
            Yahoo is a public company.

            If I'm going to invest in a company, I'd like to see a return on that investment that is at least as good as the market average. Otherwise, I'm better off with an index fund or some other type of investment.

            It's not good enough for a public company to simply make a profit, since it's competing for investment dollars with all other public companies. The company has to be seen as an investment that will generate greater returns than the various other investment options out there.

            While it may seem silly that a profitable company is still "in trouble," this is the risk that is taken when a company goes public. A private company could make $1 net profit, and that's $1 more than it needs to survive.

            • It used to be that investors would materialize a return on investment based in the company's performance via the dividends.

              Now "investors" (I called them gamblers, pure semantics) expect a "return on investment" based on the share price.

              What you are advocating is simply the economics of the bell curve, in which there are always winners and losers all shaped along the curve, and if you pull some from one side, then you have to add them in the other side.

              If people were actually obtaining ROI based on dividend
        • Yahoo has a few things going for it. For one, it's an excellent news portal and entertainment portal. I think one of the things that are hurting Yahoo is their too close relationship with Internet Explorer at the exclusion of other browsers (i.e. Firefox). I can't access a lot of Yahoo's content with my browser of choice which is not IE; hence, I don't use Yahoo as much as I would other wise. I suspect many Firefox users share my experiences.
          • by Moochman (54872)
            What are you using in Yahoo that doesn't work for you in Firefox? I've used Mail and Photos, both of which are very AJAX-y, and they both work great in Firefox--in fact Photos even had a Firefox plug-in so I could drag photos into the browser (too bad their shutting it down in favor of Flickr now, since it actually let you view and download full-res photos for free). I know that Yahoo are kind of dicks about letting you use Konqueror and the like, but Firefox at least has always worked fine for everything I
      • Nice point-in-time numbers, sure.

        But 3 years running of net income roller-coastering down while revenues have been rising doesn't fill investors with a lot of confidence in one's operational management oversight.

        Not that I'm sure what Jerry Yang will be able to do differently, other than possibly re-moralize the troops...
    • ...had the "enterprise" taken away from them by the chief yahoo. (ST:TMP references...what too obscure for you?)
    • The employees have minimal incentive to really innovate.

      Any employee with a brain and/or an innovative idea already moved to Google. So even if there were huge incentives to innovate, their ability to do so is somewhat limited.

  • by niceone (992278) * on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:36AM (#19564181) Journal

    Always quit while you're #1 - from TFA: "Semel ranked No. 1 on The Associated Press' survey of 2006 executive compensation with $71.7 million (U.S.)"

    I'm guessing Yahoo's performance was not quite #1 though.

    • Always quit while you're #1 - from TFA: "Semel ranked No. 1
      on The Associated Press' survey of 2006 executive compensation
      with $71.7 million (U.S.)
      "

      How much of that was royalties from the American Pie movies [blogspot.com]?
    • by dubl-u (51156) *
      My favorite Terry Semel fact: he had never used e-mail before starting at Yahoo[1]. And this was in 2001! No wonder he's done a poor job.

      Word is that their software engineering efforts are a sad, sad mess, with a lot of smart people spending most of their time on politics.

      [1] Source: The Economist, 10 May 2007, "Face Value: Out-Googled" [economist.com]
  • pattern? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dotpavan (829804) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:42AM (#19564231) Homepage
    notice a pattern? Founder returning to take charge when things are bad, like in the case of Dell, Apple
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vivaoporto (1064484)
      In Brazil, we have two saying about this: 1) "O olho do dono é que engorda o gado", that (roughly) translates as "The owner's eye fattens the livestock". and 2) "Quando o chefe senta o empregado deita", that translates as "When the boss sits, the employee lies down". Most successful business out there, no matter if small or big, have the owner in a position of both control and supervision.
    • by tknd (979052)
      It's easy to say that but I wouldn't say there's a complete correlation. Sometimes people get hired to lead something that was already bad, starting to go bad, or just had a batch of bad luck. I'd say in those times, companies often switch out who's running the show with another person. The new guy then takes a beating for all the crap that happens. After that the company goes back to the original founder and suddenly everything that was bad in the past gets associated with the guy that was briefly there. B
  • Lack of innovation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vsl2005 (1098931) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:16AM (#19564587)
    I am the IT Program Manager for a small community college and I think the Yahoo! business portal is an excellent resource for small business owners looking to establish an online presence they can update and maintain themselves. There are lots of other good tools there for market research and general business knowledge. So I am developing a course that will teach small business owners the ins and outs of the Yahoo! program. Yesterday I spent two hours getting transferred to and from various different departments in the Yahoo! corporate system, only to end up repeatedly with the operator at the corporate office who insisted she couldn't transfer me to a live body unless and until I could provide a name and an extension. No good explaining that was the reason I was calling - to try and identity a name and extension that might be able to offer some materials and maybe some guidance in developing the program. In the time I spent discussing this with various Yahoo! representatives, I was transferred, placed on terminal hold, hung up on, and in the end unable to identify a single resource person in the entire company who could assist me. The trick is, I know they must exist! Like many large companies, there just wasn't any mechanism in place for people whose issues don't fall neatly into some predetermined category or script. Nobody willing to take a few minutes and think outside the bloody box. What another poster said was spot on. Note to Jerry - no innovation when you are an innovation company is why you are floundering. Cheers!
    • ...some sort of directory, or maybe a search engine. I hear the google mini is pretty good for these kinds of applications.
    • by wezeldog (982156)
      I'm a sophomore at a small community college. I never thought something like this could happen to me, but one day there was a knock on the door. It was the swedish women's track and field team....what? This isn't Penthouse Forum? Sorry.
    • by dscruggs (858714)

      ...to try and identity a name and extension that might be able to offer some materials and maybe some guidance in developing the program

      You should've just Googled it. ;)

  • Over the last 6 years (Semel's tenure), Yahoo's stock moved down all in all. Of course, that is mostly because 6 years ago was almost the height of the bubble, but still. It doesn't say much for his leadership. Nonetheless, I predict some other corporation gives him a fat deal now.
    • by scsscs (669925)
      Actually, not [yahoo.com]. People forgot that Semel was once heralded as the savior of Yahoo.
    • Yet despite doing poorly for Yahoo's stockholders and letting Google eat their lunch and dominate the internet, Semel received $70M last year via stock options. Makes you wonder what these executive incentive packages actually buy the shareholders who are footing the bill. Apparently it's not a performance/results incentive.
    • by cavtroop (859432)
      Nonetheless, I predict some other corporation gives him a fat deal now.

      They always do. Good ol' boys club, you know. He probably sits on 10 other companies boards, and those board members sit on 10 other companies boards, ad infinium. So one of those Good ol' Boys will come through for one of theirs in a 'time of need', and place him at some other hapless company. I've seen it happen so often, it's sickening.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:57AM (#19565101) Homepage
    They need to give back to the community in ways that corporate mentality does not permit.

    They also need to make some serious technical advancements to work against their currently spammy environment. Once they get the spammy nature of their internet operations back under control, they can focus on community projects to build a fan-base which they sorely need and then start to work on professional services.

    It's not just "too easy" to be an advertiser, it marks against them. They need to at least APPEAR to be a community force on the internet that happens to do a little advertising on the side to pay the bills.
    • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
      What is this "community" you speak of and who makes it up?
      • by dubl-u (51156) *
        What is this "community" you speak of and who makes it up?

        Community on-line or off-, is the set of people who a) show up, b) talk with one another, and c) care.

        On-line, and in the context of a company, the community is generally your core set of users that engage enough to feel like they have a relationship. Flickr and EBay are two companies that have a hugely dedicated community and have turned that into a major asset.

        I think Google's community is much more diffuse, and has a lot of overlap with internet g
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @10:01AM (#19565149) Homepage Journal

    Semel, 64, will remain chairman in a non-executive role.

    Yeah, and I'm going to remain floor-mopper in a non-janitorial role.

    How do you have a non-executive chairman? That's like a non-bread biscuit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I hope Harvard asked for their certificates back.

      Chairmen are usually non-executive. Rather than run the company (the CEO's job) they generally chair an occasional meeting of a group of people (the board) who act in the interests of the shareholders. Duties of the board include reviewing the performance of the executive, and appointing a new executive if necessary.

      Also a garibaldi is a non-bread biscuit.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Also a garibaldi is a non-bread biscuit.

        According to google, a garibaldi is:

        • (1807-1882?) Military leader whose Red Shirt army liberated most of southern Italy, before conquering the northern section. He was instrumental in the unification of Italy.
        • a loose high-necked blouse with long sleeves; styled after the red flannel shirts worn by Garibaldi's soldiers
        • The Garibaldi or Garibaldi damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus) is a fish of the damselfish family that is native to the northern subtropical parts of
  • Here are my gripes — why I sold the YHOO-chunk of my portfolio:

    1. The discussion boards. The old implementation sucked, to be sure, but it was better then nothing, and was adding numerous page-views, with well-defined audience for each article. It was dropped last year in favor of the "upcoming new implementation", which is yet to materialize.
    2. The ad-selling needs to be more targeted, Google-like. If they aren't doing it on the discussion boards attached to news-articles (the easiest), where else can t
    • by robogun (466062)
      I've actually had good luck with abuse@geocities shutting down spamvertized sites.

      It does take them 2-3 days but they always reply back. Always include the headers even when it doesn't matter. They have to justify shutdowns.
      • by mi (197448)

        It does take them 2-3 days but they always reply back.

        That's much too long. In 1 day, the spammer is likely get 90% of all responses, he can hope for...

        Always include the headers even when it doesn't matter. They have to justify shutdowns.

        They don't need the headers to justify them. Body of the message is sufficient to shut down a spamvertized site (or e-mailbox). Yes, the body can be faked, but so can the headers...

        • by robogun (466062)
          I'm not sure how long till the shutdown, but they do respond in 2-3 days.

          You're right about the other stuff, but they perform much better than just about every other freehost out there.

          I'd dump YHOO for other reasons, specigfically their dumping Photos and especially Auctions. If they had spent some time and marketing effort on that we would have a real Ebay alternative, but nooooo... they had to waste years of buildup & recognition in ill-advised cost cutting.
  • What a coincidence. My yang is in charge, too!
  • by athloi (1075845) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @10:24AM (#19565455) Homepage Journal
    While Semel may be a business expert, what made Yahoo! was its understanding of how to use the net. If you think business-model-first, then you make what exists more profitable. But for profit to exist, it must first be useful.

    I am hoping Jerry Yang will return Yahoo's focus to the useful. Many great and creative products have come out of Yahoo, albeit in a disunified, confused, under-promoted way. If he can tie them together into a strategy of how people use the net, like the original Yahoo directory did, he may be on to something.

    I also hope they rebuild and continue the Yahoo directory project. As someone who routinely encounters too many junk hits in Google to make searches efficient, I'd like to see a dual-pane search that gives (a) raw results from the search engine and (b) search results from an updated, RDF-tagged, classified and vetted Yahoo directory.

    A legend continues... this news makes me smile (despite a lack of corporate loyalty of fanboism, of course).
    • by rhizome (115711)
      As someone who routinely encounters too many junk hits in Google to make searches efficient, I'd like to see a dual-pane search that gives (a) raw results from the search engine and (b) search results from an updated, RDF-tagged, classified and vetted Yahoo directory

      This could be obviated by any search engine by instituting a blacklist feature by which you can tell the engine to filter out all of the cluttersites like nabble, experts-exchange, "i'm hosting manpages!", etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The Y! directory was reborn the day they decided to buy out del.icio.us ...

      Now, if only they'd integrate delcious data into search in a somewhat controlled manner, it'd kick ass.

      Right now, they're sitting on one of the biggest collection of urls tagged and with notes.
  • Does this mean employees will no longer be able to watch Semel's Academy Award screeners in the cafeteria?
  • Big mistake (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CPE1704TKS (995414) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @11:46AM (#19566573)
    Jerry Yang is not a visionary. He is no Steve Jobs, he's not even a Bill Gates or a Sergei Whatever or Larry Page. He was a Ph.D student who got really, really, really lucky and became a billionaire. His idea was just a bunch of cool sites to go visit, there wasn't even an algorithm behind it.

    Yahoo and the internet is a very complex business and requires business savvy. Yang should just spend his money, date model and movie stars and leave it at that. Taking the reins of Yahoo and trying to manage their entire portfolio of businesses is far too complex for someone who doesn't have decades of experience that someone like Semel had. Think about things like branding, partnerships, etc. How do you expect Yang to handle complex business decisions like that?? The short answer is that he can't and won't.

    No, Semel did no succeed against Google, however, he had a good idea. Treat Yahoo like a media company, which it is. Google went a different way, and it paid off better. But as a company, Yahoo did not do poorly. It's just that the competition did way better.
    • by oliderid (710055)
      He is a visionary.
      He saw that the Internet was going to be a vast interconnected jungle. he set up a directory to store the various web sites. Extremely useful at that time.

      Everything was managed manually with the technology of these early days.

      He is not a genius but he is truly imaginative and most importantly hard worker.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Is it that difficult to type "Brin" ?
      • Oh yeah, that's what it was. I forgot his last name but I refused to Google it just out of principle. I find myself relying on the Internet far too much these days for remembering basic facts so I'm just going to admit I don't know something instead of googling it to avoid making me look dumb.
  • imo, it's not a good sign for a tech company when somebody from Advertising takes over--'Innovation' then morphs into something like 'resized layout grid to fit in more ads.'
  • Yin, whose official press release was a blistering "no comment", has been overheard remarking off the record that he will "have his day again."

    (sorry ... couldn't resist)

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