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Liveblogging: Yahoo's Decker and Yang

By - May 28, 2008

After a funny film featuring nearly every luminary under the sun giving Yang and Decker advice (Buffet, Stringer, Zuckerberg, etc) Yang and Decker took the stage and Walt immediately asked them about the MSFT deal. Yang agreed that they could not get to a price, but that there were other issues as well, regulatory is one that came up, but I can imagine others (ie, approach to open source, total installs of Outlook at Yahoo, etc.!).

What is the concept around the Google deal? Yang: We feel strongly about how we monetize search, but there is clearly a value gap between us and (Google), we want to make it clear to our shareholders that there are other untapped sources of value that should we want to tap that…could be significant…” We’ve conducted tests with them and we have some understandings…as to the level of discussion…we are uniquely positioned ….should anything be done (between Google and Yahoo) it’d be unique… yahoo has the ability to remain very competitive in the advertising space…the level and flexibility of how we might partner has not been well understood…(he doesn’t want to talk about it)…

What about losing search share? yang talks about Panama, over the last two years we’ve closed the gap against Google by quite a bit (in terms of pricing), now we’ve shifted our focus back to driving query growth, which is growing on an absolute basis. yes behind Google but we feel it’s about innovation and differentiation…becoming more open as a search platform (yes!) what we’d like to see…is us more aggressive …I feel the search game is pretty early…

Walt asks about all the turmoil, losing people, etc. Sue answers that Yahoo managed to hire 600 people during the turmoil, turnover is about the same. And that the product pipeline is really looking good. “We have the chance of a lifetime to show what Yahoo can do” – the turmoil has been uniting, she says.

Yang: There a lot going on, I am not going to deny that. But the perception of us as a company under siege is not accurate. …The process has in many ways pulled Yahoo together. …There is a sense that Yahoo is getting weaker, that we can’t be independent anymore. We can’t be any more clear that Yahoo was going through a period where we are transitioning to a place where we …are a lot stronger.

But what is Yahoo, to you? Walt asks. It’s not clear to us in the room. What is Yahoo? The focus is “starting point.” Sue: That’s a little bit of a change. We are focusing on four areas, home page, search, mail, and mobile. People come multiple times a day to these places.

yang: We are rebuilding yahoo from a platform perspective to be more open. Imagine developers being able to program on top of Yahoo as a canvas. (Imagine) Yahoo Mail with a group of developers working on it…same for Yahoo’s home page….conceptually it’s similar to Facebook but …it’s Yahoo, (the implication being that the results will be a hell of a lot more interesting than, say, Facebook’s platform.)

I am publishing this now, the wifi is very shaky here, will update as I can…

Update: Jerry makes point “we did not walk away, Microsoft did.” “It was not clear to me they wanted to (finish) the deal…”

Sue: We think our inventory is undervalued…we know how much value there is on search side, we also know that 90% of the web’s inventory is not search and we are about to launch a system that makes it easier to buy and sell display. There is an enormous asset there. …

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2 thoughts on “Liveblogging: Yahoo's Decker and Yang

  1. Ice says:

    Good live-blogging John. More informative than other blogs and articles I’ve seen.

  2. nmw says:

    Based on your writeup, my question is: Display related to what?