Yahoo Now Free to Compete with Google, Microsoft

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-08-02 Print this article Print

Yahoo has re-elected all of its nominees to its board of directors, closing a big chapter for the company in the wake of Microsoft's failed $44.6 billion acquisition attempt.

The news came at the company's annual board meeting Aug. 1, but not without some huffing and puffing from some shareholders.

The board includes Carl Icahn, who wormed his way to a seat on the board and still covets a deal with Microsoft, and current Chairman Roy J. Bostock, Ronald W. Burkle, Eric Hippeau, Vyomesh Joshi, Arthur H. Kern, Robert A. Kotick (he resigned), Mary Agnes Wilderotter, Gary L. Wilson and Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang.

Two new members will be selected by Aug. 15, but they won't include former AOL CEO Jonathan Miller, who has a non-compete clause with Time Warner until 2009. Whoops.

Yang said: "We are at a unique point in our history, where we have the eyes of the world focused on our company and tracking our performance. We are redoubling our commitment to driving sustained, profitable growth for our stockholders."

This remains to be seen. I have some key questions for Yahoo going forward. Here they are:

What's going on with the new advertising platform, called AMP? How is it better than what Google and Microsoft are doing and how do advertisers like it so far?

What about Yahoo's deal with Google? Does it regret it? Was it collateral damage, or a viable search deal that will help Yahoo?

In the meantime, yay! Yahoo for the time being is unmolested, and gets to advance its SearchMonkey and BOSS open search efforts. Whether they will lead to new or greater advertising dollars is another story, but I have hope that they will.

I expect Yahoo will also this year open up its Web mail to create a big social network as it promised (part of the Yahoo Open Strategy).

The net-net of the meeting is that while Yahoo clearly retained its independence, Google won big-time.

The search and applications company gets to serve ads to Yahoo, helping a competitor while helping itself to more ad revenue. Microsoft is still spinning its wheels in online advertising and has nothing to show after its aggressive overtures to buy Yahoo. 

What's bigger than that? Yahoo getting back on its feet. I'm rooting for the company.

Of course, Google is the big winner in all of this.

While Microsoft and Yahoo spent billions in legal expenses and paperwork, Google continued to grab search engine market share since Microhoo mess that started in February, and has paid keyword placement on Yahoo's search engine at Yahoo's discretion.

You know you've got a firm grip on the market when your closest rival is helping you make money.

According to the last HitWise numbers, Google's U.S. search share is around 70 percent. How can Yahoo and Microsoft compete with that? That remains to be seen.


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