For years, Yahoo has been criticised for failing to understand what it really is.
Is it a search engine? A web portal? A news site? An advertising tech company? All of the above?
Well, based on how Yahoo describes its competition in its latest quarterly filing, it looks like Yahoo still has no clue what it really wants to be.
Here’s what it says:
“We face significant competition from online search engines, sites offering integrated internet products and services, social media and networking sites, e-commerce sites, companies providing analytics, monetisation and marketing tools for mobile and desktop developers, and digital, broadcast and print media.
In a number of international markets, especially those in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, we face substantial competition from local Internet service providers and other entities that offer search, communications, and other commercial services.”
What does that mean? It means Yahoo’s competing in all of these areas one way or another:
– Online search
– Internet services, like email
– Social media
– Data analytics
– Marketing and advertising technology
For a company that generates about $5 billion a year, that’s a lot of different areas to be in. Yahoo’s scattershot approach is also pretty interesting when you compare the language to how other companies describe their competition.
Here’s what Google says:
“We have many competitors in different industries, including general purpose search engines and information services, vertical search engines and e-commerce websites, social networks, providers of online products and services, other forms of advertising and online advertising platforms and networks, other operating systems, and wireless mobile device companies…Our competitors are constantly developing innovations in search, online advertising, wireless mobile devices, operating systems, and many other web-based products and services.”
“We face significant competition in every aspect of our business, including from companies that provide tools to facilitate communication and the sharing of information, companies that enable marketers to display advertising and companies that provide development platforms for applications developers.”
“Although we have developed a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time, we face strong competition in our business. We compete against many companies to attract and engage users, including companies which have greater financial resources and substantially larger user bases, such as Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo, which offer a variety of Internet and mobile device-based products, services and content.”
“Our businesses are rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, and we have many competitors in different industries, including retail, e-commerce services, digital content and electronic devices, and web and infrastructure computing services.”
At least Yahoo is now under a restructuring plan that will narrow its focus to three platforms (search, email, Tumblr) and four content verticals (news, finance, sports, and lifestyle), as well as its Gemini and Brightroll ad offerings. And with its sale to Verizon, it’s likely Yahoo will be a much more focused company. Still, it’s an interesting reminder that spreading a company’s resources too thinly across many different areas often don’t work.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.