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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yang 'Sophomoric'?

In the midst of some of the Microhoo takeover bid turmoil several weeks back, an industry friend scoffed at what he called Jerry Yang's "sophomoric" handling of the situation. "Now hold on a minute," I thought to myself. Yahoo had every good reason to do what it could to argue for its future as a strong, independent brand rather than just rolling over in the face of Ballmer bluster.

But recent news syncs up with the specific point my friend was likely making. It was particularly that stunt with agreeing to the experimental ad listings outsourcing deal with Google that looked juvenile to him. Indeed, now that we can see evidence of the reasoned arguments Yahoo management had made against just such a deal only weeks before, it now really looks like a petulant move intended as a snub to Microsoft - cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Not the kind of move that does justice to shareholders, or thousands of employees who assumed that management was sincere in trying to compete against Google's offerings, rather than going for a short-term revenue bump. Sophomoric, indeed. Or as "mystified" Rupert Murdoch put it: "Jerry Yang is a friend, but he only owns 5%."

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