CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Jerry's perfect. Jerry's our man. Jerry's gone.

Jerry Yang shepherded a colossal decline in Yahoo shareholder value (and may be hurting his open-source assets in the process).

Culture

Update at 9:12 a.m. PST: Editors note about the Dan Lyons' vanishing blog has been added.

Update at 10:20 a.m. PST: See below for image with full text of Lyons' blog.

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang is stepping down. My question: why did this take so !%!%!% long?

In Yang's letter to employees, he suggests that he's had an "ongoing dialogue with the board about succession timing." Yet surely the timing was right a year ago, and not necessarily now when Yang and the Yahoo board's intransigence in the face of Microsoft's offer and too-hopeful attempts to buddy up with Google have left the company in a shambles, with no suitors, a miserable stock price, and a bleak future.

Dan Lyons gets it right when he calls "foul" on the entire process in his blog:

Chairman Roy Bostock says it's the right time for this to happen. I only wish you could have been on the phone for my conversation just--what--a month ago, when the same Roy Bostock swore up and down to me that Jerry Yang wasn't going anywhere because he was absolutely the greatest leader the world has ever known. "Nobody knows this company better than Jerry Yang," said Roy. "Jerry is the right person to continue to lead Yahoo."...

The takeaway [from this and other misguided optimism about the Microsoft and Google deals]: Do not believe a word that Yahoo says. Ever.

(Editors note: Lyons' blog is suddenly unavailable on the Web. Valleywag, however, posted the entry in full on Monday night with a prediction that it might be taken down. Lyons is a technology columnist for Newsweek. Also, there is an image with the full text of the blog below.)

The race is on to find just the right candidate to helm the bloody stump that is Yahoo. But Yang has shepherded the destruction of so much company value, both in terms of stock price and in terms of employee morale, that asking a candidate to step in is like asking someone to parachute onto the Titanic.

This is bad for the good people that work at Yahoo, but it's also destructive to the open-source assets that Yahoo had begun to assemble, such as Hadoop and Zimbra. This won't be the first concern for Yahoo, but it's depressing to see so much potential die in the womb.

For the Zimbra folks, in particular, it's sad to see the exceptional work that they created get smudged with the weakening Yahoo brand.

Maybe Microsoft will come back to the table, despite recently expressing no interest whatsoever. (Of course Microsoft isn't showing interest--why do so and halt a free-falling stock price when Yahoo will be twice as cheap a few months from now?) Maybe the new CEO will prove to be a magician. Or maybe the company will be punished with little reprieve for Yang's pride?

Everyone makes mistakes. I make them on a minutely basis, so I'm sensitive to the human side of Yang. But this can't be an excuse for captaining the ship into an iceberg. It can't be an excuse for grasping at straws (Google deal) and disdaining lifelines (Microsoft deal). Yang was CEO. He had a duty to the company first, his pride second.

This is the Lyons' blog on Yang that disappeared this morning. Click to enlarge. Realdanlyons.com

See also:
• Yahoo CEO Yang to step down
• Yahoo's ultimate search: A new CEO
• Yang's travails: A Yahoo timeline
• Jerry Yang memo to staff about stepping down
• Microhoo revisited: Would it be a search-only deal?

Close
Drag
Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF