The NYT’s Joe Nocera takes a cane to Jerry Yang:
Congratulations — you pulled it off. You got Microsoft to walk away from your beloved Yahoo for good. The final word went out on Thursday. There isn’t going to be any megamerger. No smaller deal to sell your search business, or take a minority stake, either. As Yahoo’s co-founder and chief executive, you’re undoubtedly thrilled. But your shareholders sure aren’t.
Yes, it’s true, you did try to salvage something by announcing a Google deal just a few hours after you and Microsoft revealed that your talks had officially ended. According to your press release, Yahoo will soon begin running ads sold by your archrival.
Well, good luck with that. First off, the deal presents clear antitrust hurdles — hurdles you yourself used to talk about back before fending off Microsoft became your primary concern. Senator Herb Kohl, the Wisconsin Democrat who is chairman of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, has already announced that the Senate will “scrutinize” the deal. Besides, even if the deal does win federal approval, you’ve chosen to become a pawn of the most dominant company on the Internet. How exactly is that going to lead to a brighter future for Yahoo?
It’s completely understandable that you wouldn’t want the company you and David Filo founded 14 years ago to fall into the clutches of Microsoft. You both loathe and fear the Evil Empire, as you Silicon Valley types used to call Microsoft. You don’t want Yahoo swallowed up into the Microsoft bureaucracy. You hate the thought that Yahoo, which once was every bit as cool as Google is now, would lose its status as an independent company. Let’s face it: you and Mr. Filo still think of Yahoo as your baby.
Here’s the problem, Jerry. It’s not your baby. It hasn’t been since 1996, when Yahoo went public. At that moment, you suddenly had to answer to your new owners: your shareholders. In fact, Jerry, as a board member since Yahoo went public, it has always been your job to look out for Yahoo’s shareholders. But we sure wouldn’t know that from the way you’ve acted these past months. I haven’t seen this much contempt for shareholders since Robert Nardelli ran Home Depot.
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