In many ways, Yahoo’s decline from a $128 billion company to one worth virtually nothing is entirely natural. Yahoo grew into a colossus by solving a problem that no longer exists. And while Yahoo’s products have undeniably improved, and its culture has become more innovative, it’s unlikely that Mayer can reverse an inevitability unless she creates the next iPod. All breakthrough companies, after all, will eventually plateau and then decline. U.S. Steel was the first billion-dollar company in 1901, but it was worth about the same in 1991. Kodak, which once employed nearly 80,000 people, now has a market value below $1 billion. Packard and Hudson ruled the roads for more than 40 years before disappearing. These companies matured and receded over the course of generations, in some cases even a century. Yahoo went through the process in 20 years. In the technology industry, things move fast.
I can’t help but feel sorry for Marissa Mayer and Yahoo at this point in time. Whilst I do agree with most of the article I find that it’s almost entirely biased against Mayer and her efforts. I mean, on one hand just running an ordinary company is tough, running a large international company, on the other hand, is a gargantuan task where few CEO’s are successful. Sure she’s made some mistakes, but she’s also made some surprising moves too.
The real problem is that Yahoo has mostly moved away from the public consciousness and is largely irrelevant now.
Though the author tries to compare Mayer to Jobs (in fact pointing out how Mayer compares herself to Jobs) they’re both facing very different challenges. Apple started off as and will always be a hardware company, where they design the best hardware products for consumers. Yahoo started off as an internet company pointing people to curated links and cool things. At the moment their attention is too spread out between the internet, their apps and services and other efforts to come up with the defining product for their company.
It’s probably still too soon to write off Yahoo but considering how almost nobody talks about them nowadays (except in the past tense) it’s probably just a matter of time.