AIB Featured Business Yahoo!
Headquartered in California, Yahoo Inc. or Yahoo! is an American multinational technology organisation. While best known for its search engine Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! also boasts a number of other products such as its web portal, Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Mail and numerous other online sites and services. According to CBC News, an estimated 700 million people visit Yahoo! websites every month, making it one of the highest-read news and media websites in the United States.
Founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994, Yahoo! was originally named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. The pair were electrical engineering students from Stanford and created the website as a directory of other websites. It was organised in a hierarchy, rather than a searchable index of pages. It took only two months for them to re-name the site to Yahoo! – a ‘backronym’ for “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle”. According to Wikipedia, hierarchical described how the Yahoo! database was arranged in layers of subcategories and oracle was intended to mean the source of truth and wisdom.
Throughout the 1990’s, Yahoo! grew rapidly, making many high profile acquisitions along the way. By 1998, it was considered the most popular starting point for web users. In 2000, Yahoo! began using Google as its search function while it worked over the next four years to develop its own. In 2004 its own search was implemented and in the years after that Yahoo! worked to keep up with Google in terms of innovations such as Google’s Gmail.
While the company is considered very successful, this has not been without its difficulties over the years. In 2008, Yahoo! experienced some difficulties, with several large redundancies of employees. In the same year Microsoft made a bid to acquire the company for US$44.6 billion, Yahoo! formally rejected the bid as it “substantially undervalued” the company, however three years later Yahoo! had a market capitalisation of only US$22.25 billion. With a number of changes in leadership and further job cuts, Marissa Mayer was appointed President and CEO of Yahoo! after former-CEO Scott Thompson left the organisation.
Currently, Mayer remains the CEO of Yahoo! and has been praised for her improvements to the company. Achievements include the acquisition of blogging site Tumblr, high profile partnerships with organisations such as Yelp, and in July 2013 it was revealed that more people in the U.S. visit Yahoo! sites in comparison to Google sites for the first time since 2011. She has guided Yahoo! to grow in ways which many believed were unachievable, and is credited for her new-age approach to many business areas. She is however facing current criticism as the company’s stock has decreased by 35% so far this year, with some calling for her replacement. This is yet another reminder that event the largest and most successful of businesses experience their fair share of difficulties over time.
What do you think?
It is clear that Yahoo! has experienced tremendous success over the years, yet is still facing difficulties in today’s business environment. I am interested to hear how you think this organisation’s future will pan out? What are your thoughts about the longevity and success of multinational organisations such as Yahoo!? Comment below and share your views.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: CBC News, Wikipedia, BBC News, The Guardian, CBS News