Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Connected Life Head Marco Boerries to Leave Yahoo

Yahoo’s top mobile exec, Marco Boerries, is departing Yahoo, according to an internal email obtained by BoomTown that he sent to some staffers on Sunday.

I have also confirmed Boerries’s departure with company insiders familiar with the situation.

In a post Monday on a management restructuring at Yahoo (YHOO) that new CEO Carol Bartz is likely to unveil to the company this week–sources tell me it is now set to be announced internally tomorrow–I noted that Boerries was one of the more likely high-level execs to go.

He has been the EVP for the Connected Device Division at Yahoo for four years, coming to the company in 2005 with the acquisition of VerdiSoft. He also had earlier sold another software company to Sun Microsystems (JAVA) in 1999.

Nonetheless, many inside Yahoo expected him to go with the changing of leadership recently, after almost two years of turmoil at Yahoo. Like many, he reportedly wanted to leave earlier, but felt loyalty to former CEO Jerry Yang.

I wrote:

Boerries, a talented but more freewheeling exec under Yang, is another question all together. Already wealthy from selling several companies, the entrepreneurial exec is most often mentioned by sources as someone unlikely to stick around, especially if Bartz tries to rein him in more. (In addition, Boerries has family issues requiring that he spend a lot of time in his native Germany.)”

In his email, Boerries did not mention Bartz, but did indeed mention his personal issues.

“With a very heavy heart I have to tell you, that I will be leaving Yahoo!,” Boerries wrote, attributing his departure in an email titled “Personal Update,” to issues related to his family.

Because of that, Boerries has more recently been splitting his time between Northern California and Hamburg.

In the note to staff, he also noted all the successes Yahoo has had with its mobile and other device efforts.

It’s unclear what the impact of Boerries’s departure on Yahoo’s Connected Life unit will be.

But it seems more likely than not that Bartz will cut back, given that it is harder to monetize now and also because Yahoo does not have its own device, as both Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) do, which might help it create a more virtuous ecosystem.

Still, Yahoo has some extremely interesting products in the mobile space and, as is typical, really well done, such as many parts of its oneConnect service for smartphones.

In addition, Boerries unveiled a pretty interesting Connected TV effort at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, although this is also an area still struggling to find a lucrative business model.

Here’s a video of me interviewing Boerries, as well as Yang and outgoing President Sue Decker, about Connected TV:

And here is the Boerries goodbye memo in its entirety:

From: Marco Boerries
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 12:06:30 PM
Subject: Personal Update


with a very heavy heart I have to tell you, that I will be leaving Yahoo!

Most of you know about my personal situation, the “living in 2 continents” and the importance of my family to me. I cannot reconcile these personal needs, my future plans and ambitions and Yahoo! anymore. And that’s why it is time to say good bye.

I had four extremely interesting, exciting and mostly fun years at Yahoo! in which we developed and gained a leadership position in Mobile against all odds and are about to do the same for the Connected TV space. And most importantly I got to work with an incredible team: YOU!!!

I will never forget the time we had together, the launches, the keynote preparations, the off sites and of course the product and business reviews. It has not always been easy, and we have not always done everything right.

But we have achieved amazing things together and I am very grateful for your trust in me and the hard work and dedication you all put in so we could achieve some very amazing things that I am so proud of:

* setting the standards for great device experience with Yahoo! Go 2.0 in 2007 for feature phones
* putting us on the map with oneSearch and delivering answers, not just web links to our consumers
* winning in the mobile search distribution race by signing over 70 operator partners worldwide, that can deliver close to 1 billion subscribers in 2009 that we have the potential to convert into oneSearch’ers
* winning ATT, T-Mobile and Virgin and therefore the US mobile search distribution race and by doing so, leaving Google and Microsoft with the rest to divide up among themselves
* creating a scalable mobile platform with Blueprint and Blueprint Classic for 1000s of devices
* making and exceeding our OCF Goals every single quarter

And last but not least Yahoo! mobile “Your Starting Point to the Internet” in my opinion our best and most important product to date, especially the app version for smartphones. I demo’ed it to Walt Mossberg at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, who simply said: “I like it… I really like it!” What more can we ask for ?


Please keep this very confidential and do not share until the official announcement later this week!


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald