Photo: JD Lasica via flickr
When Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo, one of the lingering questions in the back of everyone’s mind was, “Has any internet company ever successfully turned itself around?”It sure seems like once an internet tech company starts to decline, it doesn’t rebound. Look at AOL, MySpace, or any of the dot-com flame outs.
Well, good news for Mayer and Yahoo, it turns out an internet company can be fixed.
James Stewart at The New York Times notes that eBay is in the middle of a nice resurgence. eBay’s stock is at a six-year high after beating Wall Street’s estimates in its latest earnings report.
eBay was in trouble. Its stock had crashed in 2009, driven partially by the global economy being destroyed, and partially by the fact that its core business of online auctions was slowing down.
The online auction business still isn’t anything to get the world excited. However, its mobile commerce business and the growth of PayPal are driving the stock higher, Stewart writes.
What can Mayer learn from eBay’s turnaround? Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a “PayPal” at Yahoo. She doesn’t have a killer asset that’s been under-developed. (Unless you count Flickr, and we don’t.)
The key takeaway from eBay’s turnaround seems to be recognising a big change in technology and making a big, early bet on it. While mobile isn’t new, Yahoo still has a chance to try to build must-have applications for iPhones, iPads, and Android.
(It should also be noted that Priceline successfully turned itself around, too. Maybe Mayer needs to pivot Yahoo to e-commerce.)