Yahoo and Ringling Come to an End

by Dave Michels

There was so much excitement when Marissa Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo!

Marissa had a great run at Google, but it was unclear how much of Google’s success could be attributed to her. In hindsight, probably not much. Her term at Yahoo! was a disaster.

Marissa sitting on a big ball of red ink

I didn’t see her at Google, so didn’t really have the high hopes that many others had when the news of her new role at Yahoo! was announced. She lost me early when she banned teleworking.

However, I’ve gained a little last minute respect for Marissa in managing to sell Yahoo! to Verizon. Marissa was a terrible CEO, but a great salesperson.

Verizon is blowing $4.48 billion on Yahoo! Right as its wireless golden goose starts to tank. Last week Verizon posted its first ever net loss of wireless subscribers – and it won’t be the last. T-Mobile changed the game to one Yahoo! can’t win. Certainly, Verizon can’t win on price. The other carriers have also closed the gap on network coverage, and Verizon isn’t known for its customer service either (well actually it is). No reason to panic. Although Q117 wireless revenue was down five percent, it was still $20.9 billion! They can still squander cash on more “investments” even bigger than Yahoo!

Verizon is very diversified. I hope it runs its other divisions better than it runs wireless or UC. Verizon One Talk is one of the most interesting developments in UCaaS I have seen. The idea (and tech) behind One Talk is truly impressive. Verizon is holding it back with a limited feature set which will presumably increase over time. I believe every major wireless carrier will have a similar solution eventually (good for BroadSoft, Mitel, and 2600Hz).

The carrier to watch in the UCaaS space is CenturyLink.

Marissa retires as the CEO over the biggest hacks in history. Though that record won’t last. 1.5 billion login credentials were stolen on her shift – and the lawsuits are still to come. She was also responsible for some impressive drops in adjusted revenue. You have to look at the adjusted figures because she kept buying companies thanks to that windfall in Alibaba.

However, Marissa is due credit. I think of it more as a sales commission for not only making the deal with Verizon, but holding it together AFTER the hacks were revealed. That would be impressive at any price, but $4.48 billion would make PT Barnum proud.

It’s a bit ironic that, like Yahoo!, Barnum’s famous circus has its last act next month. I think Verizon would be much better off buying the circus. At least that show a good reputation, fans, and a chance at going on.

I am sorry to see Yahoo! go. What a great name. It was a pioneer and emblematic of the Internet of 90s. Its life was too short, and it deserved better.