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Why Yahoo plays well in Peoria

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MessagePosté le: 19/09/2010 06:56:16    Sujet du message: Why Yahoo plays well in Peoria Répondre en citant

Why Yahoo plays well in Peoria

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--In the men's room outside the media briefing room here at Yahoo's headquarters, there's a dual sink with

mismatched faucets: one modern hands-free sensor-activated
FFXIV Gilmodel and a more traditional hand-operated one. It's a fitting

metaphor for a company that, even when it moves in new directions, never quite manages to let go of the old.

Yahoo's Blake Irving continues to insist that Yahoo is a technology company as if there were something bad about being seen


(Credit: Tom Krazit/CNET)
Yahoo is a massive media company, the biggest and arguably most successful content provider among media companies to have

made a name exclusively onFFXIV Gold the Internet. It also has a rich history of technology innovation, developing one of the most-

popular search engines during the rise of the Internet and delivering e-mail and instant messages to hundreds of millions of

people around the world.

And yet it's one of the most insecure organizations in Silicon Valley, scarred by the chaos and blunders of the Terry

Semel/Jerry Yang era. Yahoo practically begged the tech media yesterday to see it as a source of technology innovation (while

blaming "misperceptions" of the company on, of course, the media) during a "vision" briefing that many in the room seemed to

have heard three or four times in the past.

Granted, new Chief Product Officer Blake Irving wasn't around during those years, and could therefore declare with a straight

face during the event that "this is an amazing technology company in the media business," which is perhaps the most succinct

answer a company executive has delivered to an existential question about Yahoo in years.

But the fact that Irving and other Yahoo executives feel they have to repeat over and over again that Yahoo is a technology

company just shows how desperate a large part of Yahoo is to be seen as part of the "new" technology industry, the one that

brings you things like iPads and phone calls from within your e-mail and real-time communication.

Yahoo has brilliant engineers. It has talented business people. It has some excellent products. But it is in no way, shape,

or form setting the agenda for the technology industry in the 21st century. And as every Yahoo employee with stock options

knows, investors feel much the same way.

If Yahoo is a technology company, it is Middle America's technology company. Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz often scoffs at the

disdain for her company among the self-professed technology elite on both coasts of the U.S., saying that when she travels to

other parts of the country andbuy ffxiv gil around the world, people know and love Yahoo and don't hesitate to tell her how much they

enjoy using the company's products.

Those people, as nice and smart as they may be, are not the ones who set the technology agenda. A former executive once

sighed when I asked him how Yahoo deals with that kind of inertia: it's not that Yahoo is unimaginative when it comes to

technology innovation, but much of its product development is hamstrung by the need to make sure its huge audience feels

comfortable on its pages.

This is absolutely not a bad thing in the abstract. Huge, stable audiences attract money, and many on the Internet would kill

for Yahoo's advertiser-friendly user base. But companies that want to be considered true technology innovators cannot fear

change. They must embrace it.

Apple doesn't worry what its users think if it realizes it needs to eliminate a widely used monitor port technology to make a

sexier and more capable laptop, it just does it. Google doesn't worry what its users will think when it introduces something

like instant search, it just gives them an easy way to turn it off. When you have the confidence to take those kinds of

risks, you can make those kinds of breakthroughs.

Yahoo's tech product-development line certainly isn't stale: Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land, for one, thought quite

highly of Yahoo's new Mail and search interfaces demonstrated following Irving's presentation. But should any of those

advances prove popular with the public, they'll highlight one of Yahoo's core problem competing as a technology company:

competitors can duplicate those advances rather quickly unless they are truly a cut above what anyone else is doing.
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