Yahoo: The Original Dot Com

Before there was Google, there was Yahoo. Before there was MSN, there was Yahoo. The starry-eyed Google founders did make a serious attempt to sell off to Yahoo back in the days. But Yahoo was not interested. Yahoo already had a search box, and search was thought of only one of many things netizens wish to do. The action was elsewhere. Search was nowhere close to a central function that it is thought of today. Back then AltaVista was the search king, and Yahoo was good enough.

A few years after Google tried to get sold off to Yahoo, Sergei Brin would go on dates, and he noticed there were not too many second dates. I don't know if this story is true, but Larry Page said it somewhere. This was in 2000 when dot coms were crashing left and right, especially dot coms that did not have any revenue whatsoever, like Google at the time.

Bill Gates did make an attempt to buy Google. Buy it "at any price," he ordered his lieutenants. This was perhaps a year or two before they went public, or maybe even right after. This time around the Google founders knew better than to sell.

But search just kept getting bigger and bigger. Google became the sexy company, always in news. In a scramble Microsoft made an attempt to buy Yahoo. What actually happened after that offer was made is murky story. Jerry Yang has been hammered with the story that he refused an offer he should not have refused, especially with where Yahoo stands today in the market. Jerry says he did mean to take it, but when he went for it, Microsoft was no longer interested. Then they came back saying they just want Yahoo's search business. Yahoo minus its search would not be a Yahoo no more. A portal like Yahoo without a search engine?

Google is search king. The competition is not arithmetic where if MSN search and Yahoo search were to get together they would eat away Google's market share. Challening Google search is an innovation challenge. But at this point Google's search business is so capital intensive, it is hard to imagine a startup that will come at it from behind.

Google might not get challenged by another search startup, more likely it will get challenged by a startup that finds another central internet application. Facebook comes to mind. Facebook is not search, it is not email, it is not shopping, it is a new application. I am not saying Facebook will grow bigger than Google. Search will stay a central application online. And I expect Google to keep innovating in that search space.

The next sexy company might not even be a dot com. It might not be a 2D company, a rectangle on a screen. Maybe all the key internet applications have already been found. Now you can just keep making it better and better and better. But perhaps there is no fundamental discovery to be made. I'd love to be proven wrong.

Jerry's two big career mistakes. He should have bought Google. He should have sold off to Microsoft. Ha.

In The News

Microsoft and Yahoo: Deal or no deal? Fortune

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WiMAX: The next-gen net connectivity Merinews higher quality and almost no wiring. WiMAX has already found it space in Indian market ans is growing rapidly. ..... Presently, WiMAX technology is being used by Tata Communications Internet Services Ltd ( TCISL ) at several Metro cities to its broadband customers. Customers also have enthusiastic response towards its performance as they are not facing problem of interruption in service due to cable cut/damage problem.
When a Rock Star CEO Leaves the Stage
Washington Post Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 but was ousted in a power struggle in 1985. ..... In late 1997, Jobs returned. ...... hitting nearly $200 per share in December 2007, from about $3 in 1997, adjusted for splits and dividends
Quantum, Runcom Technologies Team to Develop Low Cost WiMAX Handsets
Quantum Telecom has entered into an exclusive agreement with Runcom Technologies for the development, manufacturing and selling of ultra low cost (ULC) WiMAX (News - Alert) fixed and mobile handsets. ....... Recently, Runcom signed a framework agreement with ChinaTel for WiMAX deployment in 29 major cities across China, covering area of 300 million people.
Sprint’s WiMAX Deployments – Uphill Battle Gerson Lehrman Group, New York
Possible DTV Delay Roils Mobile Operators PC World Faster wireless broadband in the U.S. may be held hostage to the already lengthy transition to digital TV if the deadline for shutting down analog broadcasts is pushed back ........ TV stations are required to move all their programming to digital channels after Feb. 17 as part of a process in which valuable frequencies in the 700MHz band will be turned over to mobile broadband providers. ....... The nation's two biggest mobile operators, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, both plan to use 700MHz spectrum for the next generation of mobile broadband, based on LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology. ...... AT&T is using HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), which can deliver as much as 48Mb per second in the same size band ....... Before Sprint Nextel launched its first commercial WiMax network in Baltimore at the end of September 2008, it spent months building and testing the networks in its initial target cities. Sprint WiMax networks in two of those cities, Chicago and Washington, D.C., still aren't open for business.
Wireless: The Outlook Gets Murkier for Clearwire BusinessWeek Last May some of the biggest names in the technology and media business, including Intel (INTC), Google (GOOG), Sprint (S), and Comcast (CMCSA), teamed up to invest $3.2 billion in the startup Clearwire (CLWR). ...... founded by entrepreneur Craig McCaw had high hopes of shaking up the wireless industry ...... Billions more in losses are projected for the coming years as Clearwire invests heavily to roll out its network. ......... the credit crunch could crimp Clearwire's ambitions. ....... The company needs to raise an additional $2 billion to $2.3 billion to reach its target of offering wireless broadband service in most of the top 100 U.S. markets by the end of 2010.
Recession Comes to the PC Makers The fastest-growing segment of the market is so-called netbooks—stripped-down notebooks that cost $300 to $500 and deliver far less profit than standard notebooks. ........ Microsoft is said to get about $13 per copy for the Windows version that goes in netbooks, vs. more than $50 for those that go into standard PCs. ...... Acer operates with a super-lean Taiwanese cost structure that allows it to price its products aggressively. Apple seems content to stick with making ever-more-powerful PCs for premium prices. ..... Big Blue sidestepped the tumult by selling its PC business to Lenovo four years ago.
IBM: Outsourcing at Home the U.S. economic downturn has already claimed more than 60,000 tech jobs in the past three months alone ........ With 200,000 service employees worldwide and nearly 80,000 in India, IBM ....... Dubuque and Iowa offered IBM an enticing package of incentives worth $55 million over 10 years. They include a loan of $11.7 million that will be forgiven if IBM fulfills its hiring pledge.
Broadband Bill Disappoints Nearly Everyone $6 billion is not going to get you to ubiquitous broadband ...... pegged the cost of creating universal broadband in the tens of billions of dollars ........ $44 billion over three years. ...... "advanced" broadband will be defined as service of 45 megabits per second or higher, while "basic" broadband will be considered 5 Mbps
Comstar Soft Launches WiMAX Network in Moscow WELT ONLINE, Germany

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