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Yahoo exec concedes defeat

In surprisingly candid and humble remarks, a Yahoo executive has publicly said the company has lost the search-market battle to Google and the head of the company said Google had done a better job at the game.

"We don't think it's reasonable to assume we're going to gain a lot of share from Google," Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "It's not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share."

And comments by Yahoo Chairman Terry Semel after the company posted earnings results a week ago were even more shocking in their praise of the company's chief rival.

"Frankly, Google has done a better job than us," Semel told the Associated Press. "It's like we built our house first and someone came along and built an even better house."

The interviews came after Yahoo posted fourth-quarter net income that fell short of analyst expectations. The news led to a more than 12 percent fall in Yahoo's stock at the time. The shares had yet to rebound, trading at $34.90 a share midday on Tuesday.

Granted that Google, whose market capitalization ($120 billion) and market share (48 percent) are more than double Yahoo's ($49 billion, and 22 percent), has been able to make the most off search-related advertising. But it's a strange message for Yahoo to be giving to shareholders.