Yahoo Looks to the Cloud for Some Salvation

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Yahoo Looks to the Cloud for Some Salvation

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With the stock market crashing, or giving a good approximation of a crash Thursday, Yahoo, poor thing – well, it has behaved like a sick lost puppy, now hasn’t it – announced a reorganization just like its familiars in the press said it would.  

It is, as was widely observed, the company’s third or fourth attempt in the last 18 months or so – one loses count after a while – to rearrange the deck chairs and supposedly prove it can stay afloat with Microsoft out of the picture.  

This time Yahoo president Sue Decker – widely credited with masterminding this particularly reorg – appears to have been looking over Google, IBM and Amazon’s shoulders because Yahoo is forming Cloud Computing & Data Infrastructure Group that’s supposed to develop a “world-class” computing and storage infrastructure, “rewiring Yahoo onto common platforms” to create “a stronger partnership between product and engineering teams.”

What that actually means is still unclear – it’s assumed to be Amazon or Googlesque – but it appears to be CTO Ari Balogh’s baby and it’s supposed to “balance scalability with cost effectiveness.”  

As the announcement flamboyantly says, reiterating an old Yang quote, the reorganization is supposed to support Yahoo’s strategy to be “the starting point for the most users, the must-buy for the most advertisers and the platform of choice for developers” and “improve its products, technologies and execution.”  

Whether it gets to see any of its dreams realized is another matter.  

Microsoft is still lurking in the background and Microsoft – licking its rebuffed $47 billion takeover offer – is supposed to be working on another plan to detach Yahoo from its search operation.  

Meanwhile corporate raider Carl Icahn, who wants nothing more than to sell all of Yahoo to Microsoft, is going for broke with his slate of nine handpicked replacements in attempt to unseat the whole of the Yahoo board and remove Jerry Yang from the CEO post come the stockholders meeting August 1. Icahn filed papers with the SEC Thursday that reiterate his call on Microsoft to buy the joint.  

Anyway, Yahoo is creating three new divisions reporting to Decker that theoretically centralize the company’s Internet products, grow its audience and monetize web advertising as search and display advertising converge, according to Yang.  

There will be an Audience Products Division that develops consumer products under Ash Patel, who previously managed the company’s Platforms & Infrastructure group, its outreach to third-party developers; a US region responsible for all go-to-market activity in the US led by Hilary Schneider, who used to head the company’s Global Partner Solutions group; and an Insights Strategy team in charge of centralizing and executing a common strategy for the use of data and analysis across Yahoo. This last currently has no leader and Yahoo says it appoint one in the next few weeks.

According to Decker, who sounds like she’s been living in Mason jar in somebody’s freezer, “We have planned these changes deliberately over the past several months to clarify responsibilities and to capitalize on the scale advantages while allowing for fine tuning to meet local market needs.”  

Yahoo is moving all consumer-facing platform teams to an Audience Technology Group under by Venkat Panchapakesan. It is also putting new leadership behind its search group, naming Prabhakar Raghavan to direct search strategy and making Tuoc Luong interim leader of the search product team.

Both Prabhakar and Tuoc are also supposed to keep running Yahoo research and search engineering respectively. David Ku will lead the Advertising Technology Group within Search.

Yahoo’s Marketing Products Division, Connected Life and Corporate Marketing groups will continue to operate as they have in the past, it said.


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