Liveblogging From Yahoo Annual Meeting: Shareholder Q&A!
OK, now we’re cooking with gas at Yahoo’s annual meeting in San Jose, as various shareholders–mostly small ones–come to the microphones to give Yahoo a piece of their mind.
The room has filled up more, about one-third to one-half full, with the top Yahoo (YHOO) leadership arrayed at a table up front like an Italian wedding.
First up, longtime Yahoo activist shareholder Eric Jackson asked Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock to step down, noted that Yahoo had overplayed its hand with the Microsoft bid, wondered about Yahoo President Sue Decker’s time problems (too many outside boards) and questioned the worth of Yahoo’s deal to sell an asset in Japan.
Yahoo, of course, did not agree with Jackson! At all!
“No,” said Bostock about stepping down, also noting that he was woefully underpaid for his board service, given all the activity over the last year related to Microsoft (MSFT).
Next up, a shareholder asked about Yahoo’s poor performance compared to Google (GOOG).
Yang’s answer: We’re trying!
Next, a shareholder supported Yang, noting that Yang did co-found the company. But then he kind of suggested Yang perhaps leave the company for a “cathartic” time.
The same shareholder also compared Bostock’s defense of Yahoo’s behavior with “a girlfriend who is trying to convince the world that she initiated the breakup.”
That made Yang smile.
Later, Bostock added: “I would not compare Yahoo’s relationship to Microsoft to a romantic one.”
The next question was related to China and Yahoo’s thorny history there. Yang had addressed the issue earlier and added that the company was working hard to improve its efforts related to human rights.
While one former employee and shareholder called Yahoo “rude” not to entertain more questions from investors, another shareholder called Microsoft “a green-tentacled monster,” I think, which provoked laughs and clapping.
A question was then asked about advertising and competing with Google-owned DoubleClick. Decker noted that Yahoo’s Web-based approach is better.
One shareholder noted the lack of women on the board (there is one), and a shareholder justifiably complained that only one-third of the directors did not show up and also not enough of the board owns stock, such as Ron Burkle (who was apparently in Europe at another commitment.)
Perhaps of everything that went on at the annual meeting, which was mostly nothing, perhaps that was the most salient point of all.