Yahoo! What went wrong?

Companies could fail for several reasons, whether for lack of visions, realize the market shift, lack of innovation, or hesitant to make a decisive move. Yahoo was a leading player in the digital market, missed an opportunity to buy Google in 2002, then failed to buy Facebook in 2006 due to hesitation and undecisive offer. Aaslaid (2019) assumed if Yahoo were willing to take risks, we would be yahooing rather than googling nowadays. It worth mentioning that the refusal of buying Google for $3 billion has proceeded by acquiring GeoCities for $3.6 billion and for $5.7 billion (Saurel, 2019).

According to Frick (2016), while the explanation of Yahoo’s failures has been advocated with plenty of theories and reasons, the primary and prominent is that Yahoo failed to realize the mobile era. When Yahoo realized the dilemma and started to work in that direction, Apple and Google were already dominating the market and was already too late (Vara, 2016), and Facebook was surging ahead in the mobile app (Frick, 2016). Shashi Seth, the senior executive of Yahoo from 2010 to 2013, justified that Yahoo lacks the front door on smartphones as it does not have its operating system compared to rivals. However, rather than focusing on that area, Yahoo decided to focus on the area that it had control of through yahoo email and searching capabilities (Vara, 2016). Again, Yahoo failed to anticipate people’s behavior and mobile computing market, as people habits of shifting to phones where Apple or Android built-in searching capabilities of Safari or Google.

Saurel (2019) argued that Yahoo lacked the vision by random buying without investing in the acquisitions for further development, especially in the new internet world. Generally, Yahoo failed to see the culture change, especially with the use of mobile computing, in addition to the missing of several opportunities due to a lack of decisive decisions. Even to compete with Google rising power, Microsoft and Yahoo discussed acquisition deals, yet failed in the last stages due to Yahoo’s hesitation and lack of anticipating the future. The latest blow was caused by a massive hacking that compromised almost one billion accounts and finally led to Verizon selling the company in 2017.

According to Saurel (2019), Yahoo still one of the top 10 most visited web sited globally. However, it would be interesting to see where it would be positioned and whether doomed to exist in the near future.  


Aaslaid, K. (2019, 02 July). 50 Examples of Corporations That Failed to Innovate, Valuer. Retrieved from

Frick, W. (2016). The Decline of Yahoo in Its Own Words, Harvard Business Review. Retrieve from

Saurel, S. (2019 17 August). 6 Reasons Why Yahoo! Failed, The Startup. Retrieved from

Vara, V. (2016). Why Yahoo Couldn’t Adapt to the Smartphone Era, The New Yorker. Retrieved from

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