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Yahoo, Open?

By - September 13, 2007

Look, I love Yahoo. Hell, I love em all – from AOL to Microsoft and all the G’s in between. Otherwise, what’s the f’ing point of spending so much time thinking about them?

But let’s be honest. Yahoo, like every other company I love, has not totally embraced open, any more than its competitors have. In other words, Yahoo and its kin have a complicated relationship with open. It’s the classic question: can we make enough money from being open to justify the money we might lose? (Bizweek story)

Could Yahoo do what Facebook is doing – allow anyone to build an app where *all the money stays with the developer*?

Um. No. That’s really open. And that ain’t happening. Any more than AT&T is going to let you build apps on its mobile network without a vig.

Two years ago I was invited to give a talk to Murdoch’s senior executive team on the theme of the Internet. I suggested that the company take all the video IP it owned, and set it free – open it up, in other words.

I still think the first to do this – and CBS EVP Patrick Keane, a former Googler, said his company was totally open to that at the CM Summit this week – will win.

But true openess ain’t this:

Yahoo brass say they are now taking openness to the next level. For example, the test version of the new My Yahoo lets users link to Google’s (GOOG) e-mail service, Gmail. It also includes widgets—known in Yahoo-speak as “modules”—from partners such as Netflix (NFLX) and The New York Times (NYT) that let users choose to see movies and read stories from their customized homepages.

It’s just not. Sorry. Don’t be half pregnant. Bet the company, Yahoo. What the hell!


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5 thoughts on “Yahoo, Open?

  1. TimA says:

    I hate being just an amplifier on these blogs but I could not resist:

    Wow — what a lame example for being open. iGoogle is eating MyYahoo! lunch each and every single day, and trying to spin a story that MyYahoo! is open b/c it has NetFlix module is rather desperate. Just say nothing and start building a better, different, and more open product.

  2. stone says:

    This is sad. A once powerful Internet ICON struggling to be relevant. As their key people head out the door the folks left are trying hard to make things sound cool. Yahoo is very close to being in their decline phase. They will very soon miss a quarter and all hell will break loose. They already guided lower this year so they too are fearful of this happening. Yahoo is a sad company with *zero* product vision and a completely destroyed publisher network.

  3. nmw says:

    Sorry to go off on a tangent here — but isn’t this basically what all the read/write hubub is all about? As is the Fair Use stuff ( http://battellemedia.com/archives/003948.php )?

    On a FUNDAMENTAL level, something will always remain THE PROPERTY. Let me use an analogy: I studied in Mannheim as an exchange student (really — it was only just a few years ago ;). The director of the program (see http://AGABUR.com ) sometimes joked that one of the beautiful things about Mannheim is that it’s a hub in the German rail system — so it’s very easy to get somewhere else! And this also remains very true today (both in Mannheim and on the Internet): It’s all about location, location, location!

  4. dmc says:

    Yahoo?!? Open? Well they were an early adopter of RSS, but that was easy. I have never thought of, seen, nor heard of Yahoo! being open or being capable of being open. And the way they work, open would take them years. I love the modularization of MyYahoo!, but it is merely skin deep compared to what can be done on Facebook and other sites. I can’t even figure out how Groups and 360 tie in, so outside apps will take a long time.

  5. This is sad. A once powerful Internet ICON struggling to be relevant. As their key people head out the door the folks left are trying hard to make things sound cool. Yahoo is very close to being in their decline phase. They will very soon miss a quarter and all hell will break loose. They already guided lower this year so they too are fearful of this happening. Yahoo is a sad company with *zero* product vision and a completely destroyed publisher network.