By Jonathan Poston
Today’s Bloomberg article,”Yahoo! Names PayPal’s Scott Thompson New CEO : Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), the Internet company exploring strategic options,” is a nice warm welcome to Mr. Thompson as chief executive officer of the company. But, Mr. Thompson, who is coming to Yahoo! as an exiting president of EBay Inc., has a tough road ahead with expectations that he increase traffic and advertisers (against strong competition from Facebook & Google) to Yahoo! sites and wrench value from Yahoo!’s Asian holdings (Yahoo! owns an estimated $14 bil. or 40% in Alibaba, China’s largest ecommerce platform). While the above article notes his accomplishments in the areas of payments and international, there is serious question regarding his competence with advancing a content-centric business, like Yahoo!.
And while repositioning the company with key strategic plans, he’ll need to execute much differently than Bartz, his predecessor, who last year was infamously fired over the telephone. Even with cost reductions (in the form of job cuts) and a high level search partnership with Microsoft Corp., Bartz wasn’t able to satisfy the board. Microsoft may have stepped in to acquire Yahoo!, but with Thompson coming in guns-a-blazing, it’s unlikely. No one seems to have given Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, any further consideration when last October he indicated an interest in buying Yahoo!, and unless Thompson screws up, that discussion may never surface again.
But what does all this mean for Yahoo! Store merchants? We are all really left to hypothesize on this. Yahoo! Small Business is almost never mentioned by the media (at least in all the press releases we’ve read), especially in the same articles where superstar executives are concerned. Despite its low profile, the Yahoo! store platform has endured a number of big corporate changes over the years, without so much as ever alluding to the slightest resulting service changes. It seems to be the black box in the airplane, humming along while the larger concern does loopty loos in concert with an unpredictable and highly competitive market forecast.
But it’s worth asking, right? Mr. Thompson, gotta minute? Anything new planned for Yahoo! Small Business?