Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

For Yahoo, It Seems, It's Always Groundhog Day


Oh dear.

Even more waiting for Yahoo to turn itself around? Until 2009? Really? Another 100 days, and another, and another and then more than half of another?

This is starting to feel very, very familiar.

Too familiar.

Well, it did take seven months to replace Farzad Nazem as CTO at a–um, well–technology-dependent company, so perhaps the glacial pace of non-change change planned for the Internet giant should not come as too much of a surprise.

Still, any surprise or new development from Yahoo might be more welcomed by Wall Street, which decidedly did not like much of what it heard from CEO and Co-Founder Jerry Yang or other Yahoo top execs during their fourth quarter and year-end earnings session yesterday.


After the underwhelming call, which came after the markets had closed, Yahoo shares were off almost 10% in after-hours trading, falling below a dangerous $20 level to $18.89.

Or, as I like to call it, takeover territory. Or even, as many media and tech players I talked to recently have been suggesting more fervently, the land where Yahoo merges with AOL or eBay.

But, really, who knows? Even, it seems, Jerry Yang.

He used the term “head winds” to characterize Yahoo’s sober guidance for the future, even as Yahoo had a sharp drop-off in net profit for the quarter.

Oddly, he did not highlight the much ballyhooed layoffs, which might number about 1,000. Or not–because some laid off can look for other jobs at Yahoo in more promising product areas. Got that?

I don’t and that’s probably the most critical problem Yahoo faces. Still, right after the call, Yang and his top execs went back into the cone of silence they have been living in, which is located in their cozy cave of noncommunication, without further comment.

Incredibly, reporters were asked to email or text any follow-up questions and given no access to anyone in charge.

While Yang and others there often note that they have their heads down–remember, there are scary head winds out there and potential hair-mussing dangers!–and don’t have time for such things, even Punxsutawney Phil knows that the only way winter ends is if you come out of your hole and don’t get scared looking at your own shadow.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik