Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Opens Itself Up Tomorrow–Literally

Yahoo–because it has decided its living-inside-a-cave press strategy has been, shall we say, a bust–has invited a passel of media tomorrow to its Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ and will trot out a range of top execs to talk specifically about the various facets of its “open” strategy.

In an attempt to redefine and refocus itself, Yahoo has correctly wed itself to the trend toward more-open platforms, rather than locking consumers into its once tightly closed portal gates.

Yahoo (YHOO) has been accelerating its open activities of late, mostly related to its search and ad infrastructure. Now it is trying to show that it can be open all over the company.

Neither CEO Jerry Yang nor President Sue Decker will be at tomorrow’s event (he is at a Cisco board meeting, while she is in London–and BoomTown now sounds like the official Yahoo exec stalker). But the company will feature many key players.

The gathering will be kicked off by Yahoo’s CTO, Ari Balogh, for example, who has been a prime mover in the company’s open-platform strategy.

Also on deck: Yahoo Audience Product Division EVP Ash Patel, who will be talking about the opening up of platforms and products like email; Hilary Scheider, Yahoo U.S. EVP, who will discuss opening up Yahoo’s ad business; Yahoo Media Group head Scott Moore, who will cover how Yahoo’s content properties integrate third-party partners and also become more distributed; and Marc Davis, Yahoo’s “social media guru” in its Connected Life division, who will do the open dance related to mobile.

As I have previously written, this kind of conceptual shift toward open platforms is something many have felt Yahoo has needed to do in a bolder manner, as consumer interest in massive centralized portals like Yahoo has waned.

Following in the path of start-ups like Facebook, the vision is of a more widgetized and social Yahoo and a Yahoo available everywhere.

Yang has also made open a core Yahoo strategy, saying at one point:

“These key strategies will be enhanced by our adoption of new, more open technology platforms that will encourage the development of new applications and the involvement of third-party developers–and help enrich the user experience.”

Now if Yahoo could just open up a can of excitement to jack up its moribund stock price-now in the $17 range again–things would really be looking up.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus