Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone of The New York Times had visited Yahoo!’s headquarters to do some interviewing last week. The two interviewed security guard Shewondia Mills and CEO Carol Bartz. The Times wanted to learn more about Yahoo!’s company culture. What the Times got out of the visit is a debatable quote from the recently installed CEO.
“We have never been a search company,” stated Bartz. “It is: ‘I am on Yahoo. I am going to do a search.’ ”
Bartz said that generally people only conduct a search on Yahoo! after reading a news story or watches a video on another Yahoo! service. Yahoo! generally does not become the destination that people visit when looking for search answers. This is why Bartz does not mind that Yahoo! has a 20% search market share. Google has above 60% search market share.
The reason why Bartz’s claim is debatable is because I remember Yahoo! as being the first place to go for searching the web before Google became a large brand. Meaning that Yahoo.com is what I used before the year 2002. Perhaps Yahoo! lost their search engine market share shortly after Terry Semel became the company CEO. Semel focused on intense M&A that drove Yahoo! away from being just known for search.
Under Semel, Yahoo! bought LAUNCH Media, Hotjobs.com, Inktomi, Oveture, Kelkoo, Oddpost, Musicmatch Jukebox, The All-Seeing Eye, Stata Labs, WUF Networks, Verdisoft, Stadeon, Ludicorp, TeRespondo, Dialpad, blo.gs, Konfabulator, Upcoming.org, Del.icio.us, Webjay, SearchFox, Meedio, Jumpcut, AdInterax, Bix.com, Kenet Works, Wretch, MyBlogLog, and Right Media. Buying and integrating all of these companies into Yahoo! caused the company to forget about its core competency which was search. This enabled Google to swoop in and take a huge market share chunk.
Before Google, Yahoo! was the only search engine that I knew.