Monday, May 5, 2008

Microsoft-Yahoo Dead... Yahoo Needs a New CEO

The blogosphere is buzzing about Yahoo killing the Microsoft deal:

"Yahoo’s Black Monday Begins With Shares Down 20 Percent."

"Yahoo Execs’ Reaction: “I Need Some Prozac”" BoomTown

"Yahoo breaks the wrist, Microsoft walks away"

"Yahoo’s Yang Speaks, Notes That Glass Remains Half Full"

If Microsoft has really passed on this deal and isn't waiting for Yahoo's shareholders to beg Ballmer back to the table, Yahoo! really needs new leadership. Jerry Yang's recent performance on this deal and his time back at the helm of Yahoo! showed that he isn't the right person to lead them to new lands. I think they really need an outside CEO to salvage their company's future.

While acquisitions are difficult to effectively integrate, it was the best option that Yahoo! had on the table. I assume hubris played a part on this situation. The idea of Microsoft acquiring an icon of Silicon Valley bothered even those outside of Yahoo!'s walls. But imagine the potential of this merged entity? The combined search market share, all those email accounts, online ad platforms, Microsoft's R&D and Yahoo's smart but dumb acquisitions, and the muscle of Microsoft? Scary especially since I never count out the original Evil Empire. They might move like a DeathStar, but they still have smart, quality people in Redmond and the cash to burn through their mistakes.

So who should be Yahoo!'s new CEO? Obviously someone with operating experience at an Internet company, unlike Terry Stemel, and strong knowledge of the online ad marketplace. It's natural to look at high-profile candidates, such as Meg Whitman, but how about an executive at Google or a CEO of an online ad company? Who knows, but it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out over the next several months.

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