Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been ousted from the company. One analyst thinks Microsoft's search-engine deal with Yahoo wasn't going well for the latter.
Carol Bartz is out as CEO of Yahoo.
What this means for Yahoo in the longer term is something
analysts and pundits will pick over for the next few days and weeks. Within hours of the announcement that
Bartz was stepping down, Gartner analyst Allen Weiner issued a research note
that characterized the dismissal as unsurprising, considering the slowed or
stalled progress in many strategic areas.
For her part, Bartz was characteristically blunt about what
"I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over
the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board," Bartz wrote in a
widely circulated email
to Yahoo employees. "It has been my pleasure to
work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward."
In a Sept.
6 press release
, Yahoo board Chairman
Roy Bostock praised Bartz "for her service to Yahoo during a critical time of
transition in the company's history, and against a very challenging
Bartz oversaw Yahoo's wide-ranging search deal with
Microsoft. Under the terms of that agreement, Microsoft's Bing powers backend
search for Yahoo's branded Websites, while Yahoo handles a significant portion
of advertising salesforce duties for both companies. "The big picture shows
that the Microsoft-Yahoo search alliance has not gone to either party's
satisfaction and that Yahoo has lost a number of key executives," Weiner wrote
in his research note. "The conundrum for Yahoo in recent years has been its
inability to develop an identity and sell that to employees, advertisers,
partners and consumers."
In the wake of the Microsoft deal, Yahoo executives repeatedly
insisted that their company would maintain and expand its online identity, even
if Bing handled the underlying search apparatus. Microsoft and Yahoo completed
the search integration in the United States and
Canada in the back half of 2010. In early August, Yahoo started to migrate organic
search results in the European market
over to Bing.
The Yahoo agreement proved something of a boon to Bing,
essentially doubling its market share.
Nonetheless, Google continues to maintain a healthy lead in the U.S. search
engine market, with research firm comScore estimating its July share at 65.1
percent. Yahoo came in second with 16.1 percent, and Bing third with 14.4
percent. If you blend Yahoo's share into Bing's, then Microsoft owns roughly one-third of the total market.
In broad strokes, those numbers remain little changed from previous quarters. Did that
immobility help force Bartz's ouster? Whatever the case, Yahoo seems on the
verge of another rocky transition period.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Editor's Note: This story's market-share figures from comScore were corrected.