Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

WWYD (What Will Yahoo Do?): Deal, Sell, Stand Pat or What?


If BoomTown were to hazard a guess, I would assume Yahoo would, if it could–in the end–sell itself off to Microsoft.

That’s just my opinion, of course, but–after all that has gone on and all the time that has passed–it would still be the best-case scenario for the company, over either a more limited commercial advertising and search partnership with the software giant it has been discussing.

Or, of course, going it alone.

That’s because partnerships of two strong companies are always fraught with struggle that hinders true achievement. I would imagine that would go double for Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT).

And, in standing pat, Yahoo faces a future that is uncertain, especially given the need to keep up with the massive changes in the digital arena and the long struggle it has had over the last several years in trying to redefine itself in the Web 2.0 era.

After all, in 2009, it is still hard to answer the simple question: What is Yahoo?

That’s the one that stumped former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang onstage at our sixth D: All Things Digital conference last year.

And, it will still be the key query that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz will need to answer when she takes the stage Wednesday morning at D7.

I have been noodling all weekend about what to ask the forthright executive, who does not seem to mince words or suffer fools.

That’s good, since it will take that kind of gumption to clearly lay out for the influential crowds of attendees and assembled tech press exactly what she is going to do now that she has started to make the basic structural changes at Yahoo.


Cost-cutting and focusing management, of course, are the low-hanging fruit at Yahoo and now it will be up to Bartz (pictured here) to begin to tell a story about the future of the company she helms and where it is going.

Is it a media/content company or a search company or a communications company, for example? And, if it is parts of all three, how does that stack up against competitors?

There are a lot of questions like this that one can ask about Yahoo, from how it innovates to how it holds onto talent to how it will recharge its growth.

Because, even though it is one of the most highly trafficked sites on the Web and one of Silicon Valley’s icons, it is still much too easy for many to count Yahoo out.

So, perhaps most of all, what I look forward to hearing from Bartz is how we can all begin to count Yahoo in again.

Until then, here are two parts of video highlights from Walt Mossberg’s interview with Yang and former President Sue Decker, last year at D6:

Highlights, Part 1

Highlights, Part 2

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