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Daily Debrief: Can the SS Yahoo steer past the shoals?After a series of high-profile resignations at Yahoo, Charles Cooper and CNET News.com's Editor-in-chief Dan Farber assess how senior management is likely to respond.
[ music ] ^M00:00:04 >> More trouble for the S.S. Yahoo, the latest resignation, Delicious founder, Joshua Schecter [assumed spelling]. Meanwhile, there's talk of a reorg on the way, and all the while the stock continues to get sold off. Happy Friday. I'm Charlie Cooper, welcome to the cnetnews.com Daily Debrief. I'm here with news.com's editor-in-chief Dan Farber. Dan, this is just one of a string of recent high profile departures from the company. Is there a common theme here, or is each one a different story. >> Well I think you can say that there's a common theme based on the fact that there's a snowball effect as some of the people leave the company, and others see that and they say well, maybe it's a good time for me to leave the company. So you end up with a number of people, including the founders of Flicker and Delicious leaving the company, as well as some of the key executives in the company, such as potentially Brad Garlinghouse, and a number of others. >> Jeff Weener [assumed spelling]. >> And what does this all mean. Well a number of things. One, you see founders leaving, and that could mean that you know, it's time for them to get out, they probably weren't doing a lot in terms of managing their products over the last few months or years, and they see it as you know, time to move on. And for others I think there could be several reasons. Number one, they have really, I guess you would call it Yahoo fatigue. There's been so much going on over the last year basically, since Terry Semole [assumed spelling] was replaced by the founder, Gerry Yang and Sue Decker as president, as well as the fact that Microsoft came in in February, and that was very disruptive. And it's just been hard to get anything done. And then with the dissolution of that potential marriage to Microsoft, I think people were you know, some people were quite upset at that fact - >> And disillusioned. >> And disillusioned that you know, they thought it might be a good outcome. >> Is there a contrarying case to be made here? After all, Yahoo still has, they're number two in search, they have some very formidable properties, they have Flicker, you have Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance. Are the nay sayers making too much of a case, are we losing sight of the real value of the company in all of this hubbub. >> I do think that that is the case, that there is a lot of value in the company. In fact some of the sites that Yahoo has are the most popular, such as Yahoo Finance and Flicker, their email has two hundred and forty or sixty million unique users a month. There's five hundred million people who come to Yahoo on a monthly basis. So it's a tremendous asset, it's a profitable company. The problem is it's compared to Google all the time. And when you're compared to Google, it's not an easy place to win. Despite the fact that you know, Yahoo shares searches somewhere around 20%, which is still a decent income along with the other properties that it has. >> I don't think anybody would argue that so far top management has done relatively a lame job of really telling its story to the outside world. But more importantly they have to get the troops lined up behind them. If you had a pipeline to Gerry Yang, what would you suggest he do? >> Well he's you know, between a rock and a hard place, which is that he's got Carl Icon on one end trying to push him out of the company, or change the composition of the board. He has his own board that has gotten him into that position he's in today. And I think that when you see the people leaving, that's a sign, a signal that people are no longer confident in the leadership of the company. There's a reorg coming, and in that reorg, according to the various reports we've seen, Ash Pattel [assumed spelling], who heads up the network and infrastructure is going to take up all the product, so centralizing what was spread out across a number of managers. And then Hillary Schneider, who runs a lot of the ad efforts is going to head up the U.S. sales and marketing, and advertising efforts. >> If this fails to do the trick, if things really go from bad to miserable, is Steve Bommer [assumed spelling] still waiting in the wings? Microsoft decide okay, your stock is now at such a ridiculously low price, we're gonna put another offer on the table. Or has that ship sailed. >> You know, my sense is that that ship sailed, and that what they would like is really just the search business. And I don't think, and I think the interesting thing about it was that it was always about the price in the beginning, which is this is what Microsoft was willing to pay, this is what Yahoo wanted, and at some point Microsoft just soured on the whole thing. And now it's not so much about money. Now it's much more strategic, it's about we need more help in search, and we're not going to pay for the whole company, we don't want it. [ background music ] But you never know. >> Okay, thanks Dan. On behalf of Dan Farber, I'm Charlie Cooper. ^M00:04:44 [ music ]