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Carol Bartz Is Out As Yahoo's CEO 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the didn't-leverage-cloud-synergies-enough dept.
itwbennett sends word that Carol Bartz is no longer the CEO of Yahoo. Company CFO Tim Morse will take up the job's responsibilities temporarily. In an email to Yahoo staff, Bartz said she had been fired over the phone by the chairman of the board. The AllThingsD blog sums up the situation thus: "[When Bartz replaced Jerry Yang], she presented a take-no-prisoners image and was touted as someone with a reputation as a professional manager who could clean up the place. Not so, as it has turned out. While Bartz has streamlined certain areas and made some strong management hires, her performance has been decidedly bumpy and mostly downhill. The share price has settled in at about $12.50 (just about where it was when Bartz took over), Yahoo’s recent financial results have been weak, its key advertising business is struggling, its attrition rate among engineers and others is startlingly high and its product innovation cycle seems stopped up."
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Carol Bartz Is Out As Yahoo's CEO

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:10PM (#37322620)

    Whenever I look at a yahoo page, it's invariably full of crap, almost like someone intentionally tried to make it as annoying as they possibly could.

    Simple, clean, lightweight, and maybe I'd use it for something. But at the moment, yahoo is completely useless. I'm astonished anyone goes there for any reason any more.

    • by kiwimate (458274) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:27PM (#37322708) Journal

      I don't know...I have been using it as my home page for longer than I can remember. Sign in to my.yahoo.com and set it up the way I like it, done. Clean and simple.

      Yahoo also has my oldest mail account, at something like 14 years. That account is all over the web and if I get one spam e-mail in six months that doesn't get caught it's something I notice because it's so unusual.

      Oh yes, and Maps. Google Maps? Forget it, they still don't know my street exists and it's been here for five years. I like MapQuest, but sometimes it just flakes out and won't give me directions. Yahoo Maps is the most consistently reliable for me.

      • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:46PM (#37322808)

        I'm the exact opposite. Profile: 28, male, married, very tech literate (own a hosting/tech consultancy firm). Gmail account for everything (personal, business, local community college account even for the fine welding/fabrication classes they offer that I take), Calendar as well for personal and business, Finance for my portfolio. Hell, as I type this, I'm in Google Chrome, which syncs all my bookmarks across my Windows and Mac machines, as well as my Nexus One and my Xoom tablet. File storage? Google Docs. Contacts? Google Contacts, also synced across everything. Google Maps and Navigation for more uses than I care to type out at the moment. I emailed someone at Google my new subdivision street (with supporting info), and the data was corrected in under a month.

        My point? Yahoo was your thing, Google is mine. Yahoo may have had the lead, but they gave it up (for various reasons, mostly business/management related).
        Its all about momentum, and I think Yahoo doesn't have enough vision, management competency, nor technical talent to compete against the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Apple anymore.

        Sorry to be the Messenger (or Google Talk, if you prefer).

        • by dudpixel (1429789)

          funny that the only replies you got were from AC's.

          They wanted to argue against what you said but in the end they just didn't have the guts. What they said didn't matter because they weren't prepared to back it with a real username.

          Good on you :-)

          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            funny that the only replies you got were from AC's. They wanted to argue against what you said but in the end they just didn't have the guts. What they said didn't matter because they weren't prepared to back it with a real username.

            Did this have anything to do with what he said, or were you just looking for an excuse to argue about or debate the value of AC contributions in general?

            Whether or not what you said was true, it could have been said in response to *any* post with anonymous replies. Furthermore, can we assume that "dudpixel" is the name your Mummy and Daddy gave you when you were born? I suspect not. :-)

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          Here you have another profile: Around your age, single, also very tech literate.

          Host my own email and Jabber server, docs are in OpenOffice. No syncing of any kind. Own a smartphone but want absolutely nothing to do with any kind of integration with a provider like Google or Yahoo, I'll host my own, thanks. File storage? RAID, and Mercurial. Maps? Nokia maps on the phone, with the map files downloaded beforehand for any country I might travel to.

          I just don't find either Google nor Yahoo desirable. Web UIs s

          • Just reading your comments makes me go "uggggghhh". While I understand you may have the time and inclination for Mercurial, your own email and jabber servers, etc., I shiver just thinking about all the time that goes into having to manage your own personal servers for things like email and jabber. No thanks. Google can handle my entire life, with it being backed up with Backupify for $5/month. Time vs Money tradeoff and all jazz. I don't have anything so personal that I'd care if someone at Google actually

            • by vadim_t (324782)

              Manage what? A good setup doesn't need to be messed with.

              I haven't really touched it since I put the current version in place somewhere around 3 years ago, and back then I don't think it took about a day to set up the entire server, most of which goes on waiting for things to install. Actual configuration time is maybe an hour. I "apt-get upgrade" once in a while to keep up with the patches and that's about it.

              Also over the long run it probably saved me time, because if I have problems with network access I

        • by kiwimate (458274)

          Yahoo was your thing, Google is mine.

          Mmm...Yahoo isn't really "my thing". I like some of their features, I've been using it for a long time, and My Yahoo is my home page, but I'm not married to Yahoo. (I do feel nostalgic about it sometimes, for lots of reasons which I won't go into, but I also feel nostalgic about AltaVista and DEC. Doesn't mean I use them on a daily basis.)

          Google has some neat stuff, but I just don't like one company having that much data about me. And, for me, they don't have anything which is a killer. Search, sure, great,

          • I've been using it for a long time, and My Yahoo is my home page, but I'm not married to Yahoo. (I do feel nostalgic about it sometimes, for lots of reasons which I won't go into

            I feel nostalgic for Yahoo, I must admit. I remember them around 1995 or so when I was on the web using Mosaic and with a monochrome monitor. Yahoo search was the best thing in the world back then, and their home page had lots of cool stuff, like hot sites that were genuinely interesting.

            And then it changed. They crammed more an

      • by xaoslaad (590527)
        You should consider letting google know your street is missing. It took them a bit to take action on my report written by a street in the first person begging to be found, but they did wnd my street now appears in google maps....
        • It took them a bit to take action on my report written by a street in the first person begging to be found, but they did wnd my street now appears in google maps
          Your street found a beggar on it and wrote a report to Google? Smart street!
      • by klui (457783)

        Well Yahoo is also my oldest email account, too. But their latest incarnation sucks. They took away the option to use the legacy interface and the new version is dog slow bringing up a message. Sometimes their JS code causes messages to not load unless I log off and start over.

    • by drolli (522659)

      The problem is: its getting worse with each restructuring. They try to push in more "own content" to the front pages. Earlier they have been an excellent directory/new aggregator, now the only reason to go there for most people i know is the fact that they have a old email address there...

      The last 5 years they have been completely without a concept what to do long-term with their site. Various attempts of offering things beyond and more and more irrelevant directory/search have been half-assed and could not

    • I'm convinced this is the core demographic for Yahoo: older women who believe Yahoo = Internet. Both my sisters have Yahoo set as their home page.
    • by tyrione (134248)
      I'll give you one obvious reason: Professional Sports.
    • by Tasha26 (1613349)
      For the past 4 years, I've been complaining about their crappy Comment system (& spam). Such a waste, 200 to 1200 willing participants (depending on the subject matter) and Yahoo still relies on a slow-to-update, pre-Web 2.0 comment style system. It's as if those morons are unaware of how easy & fast it is to comment on Youtube videos. Is it so difficult to replicate that?

      Am glad Carol got the boot. She was completely useless at eBay and now Yahoo... i hope she never finds a job in the tech indust
  • typical... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:15PM (#37322644) Homepage Journal

    Maybe they should be concerned less about hiring "managers" and more with hiring people with actual ideas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yahoo! has plenty of ideas. It has a problem with execution -- particularly timely execution, which is very important in a market that changes as rapidly as the one they're in.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Lots of people have ideas. It's the manager's job to figure out which ones are good ideas.

      • by md65536 (670240) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @11:10PM (#37322922)

        Most of the managers I know tend to think that all the good ideas come from managers.

        • Then most of the managers you know are idiots. I've had good and bad managers, more good than bad. The good managers got the hell out of the way unless you were way off course. And all of them admitted happily they knew less about the topic than the experts they hired. Hell, most of those managers INSISTED on getting input from the team, and would bug the crap out of you until they got it.
    • No, maybe the US should drop its system of corporate governance.

      Americans seem to have forgotten that they had a war to get rid of a king because monarchic government is arbitrary, over-centralised and attracts sycophants. So they have corporations, many bigger than medieval kingdoms, which are run dysfunctionally by a monarchical system of government.

      The pattern isn't that Fiorina, Apotheker, Bartz and so on are incompetent. It is that the system amplifies the errors and prejudices of single individuals. T

    • by Tasha26 (1613349)
      Isn't it sad how this is the plague of our tech industry? Fakers (or MBA schmucks) with no innovative ideas or passion for technology usually get the top job... *sigh*
  • by ani23 (899493) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:17PM (#37322662)
    She ran the company just to manage the day to day business than to provide thought leadership and future vision.
    • by rekoil (168689) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:28PM (#37322714)

      More to the point, it seemed that the biggest initiatives within Yahoo while I was there (from 2009 until early this year) were *all* centered around profit, not users - mainly, cost-cutting and ad tech. As if the goal wasn't to grow users, just grow revenue and profit per existing user. What opened my eyes was when the cost-cutting initiatives that made sense - primarily the data center consolidations, which definitely needed to get done ASAFP - started getting pushed back due to the need for quarter-to-quarter profit management. Bartz should have grown a pair, pushed forward the consolidation even if it meant missing the street for the quarter, allowing Yahoo to reap the rewards much sooner.

      I'll also never forget the quarterly all-hands meeting where the major product announcement for the quarter was...*full-page ads on the login page*.

      Sorry I didn't stick around to see Bartz go, but I couldn't risk her *not* going.

      • by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @11:04PM (#37322898) Homepage Journal

        Out of curiosity, my pet theory was that Bartz was installed by Microsoft after the 2008 buyout failed, under the premise that Yahoo would invest heavily in Microsoft's ad network and bing search engine back end. Is there any truth in this? Or did she simply take the path of least resistance and lay down every time Microsoft waived money in her direction?
         
        Particularly after the backdoor buyout of Nokia and installing a Microsoft executive as CEO there, Bartz at the time sure looked like a backdoor buyout of Yahoo.

      • That sounds about right. Under Carol's reign they got rid of Delicious, made some awful UI tweaks to Flickr, ran some obnoxious ad campaigns. As a user, I didn't see any improvements. Quite frankly I'm at a loss to come up with anything positive Carol did... and that's just from a user's point of view.

        Of course, the board got what the board wanted: someone who wasn't as stubborn as Yang. It's kinda like HP. They've found a string of incompetent CEOs to focus on dismantling the company. But Yahoo! was Y

    • Um, yahoo search is Bong now... After Yahoo taking M$ that's EXACTLY what she was supposed to do... Tend the shop until it sinks. Nearly every interesting project Yahoo! had steps on Microsoft's toes in some way.. Her "job" is to integrate with Microsoft's plans or can the projects... Oh, and to bring Yahoo! Stock to double it was when she started.

  • Surprisingly enough you need to be more than an HTML based Gopher, with a 2nd rate search engine.
    • I love their fantasy football....
      But yes, other than that I avoid yahoo...
      I haven't even checked my yahoo mail in years...
      Probably have won many european lotteries by now...

      • by Surt (22457)

        Oddly enough, yahoo mail is now probably their single decently designed property. A lot better than gmail anyway.

    • by Builder (103701)

      Completely irrelevant. I mean, they're just the most popular image sharing and image related social provider on the web today (flickr).

  • I know! (Score:4, Funny)

    by atomicbutterfly (1979388) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @10:48PM (#37322818)

    Maybe they can hire Steve Jobs. I hear he was the CEO of a pretty large company who left recently.

    Oh damnit now I can't remember the name of that company! If only they were in the news more I'd remember them.

    • by md65536 (670240)

      Maybe they can hire Steve Jobs. I hear he was the CEO of a pretty large company who left recently.

      Oh damnit now I can't remember the name of that company! If only they were in the news more I'd remember them.

      Steve Jobs was the CEO of Apple. He left for health reasons, so I don't think they have a good chance of hiring him.

    • I think the company was Pixy? Pixel? Something like that - they've not been in the news recently because Disney bought them.
    • by yuhong (1378501)

      Personally I have been thinking that board of directors should be looking for external candidates from alternate sources like the start-up world for a while now.

  • by drgroove (631550) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @11:24PM (#37322982)
    Yahoo still doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up. Is it a news aggregator? A search engine? An email service? An online gaming site? A social network? A web hosting company? A bookmark sharing site? A photo sharing site?

    Yahoo reminds me of that old SNL skit - it's a floor wax, and a desert topping. Only Microsoft comes to mind as a parallel when reviewing the absolute scattershot approach to online monetization that Yahoo has taken, but M$ has a host of other products / services (ok, just Office & Windows) that keep it's bottom line solid, allowing it to experiment w/ various approaches online until it finds a "hit". Yahoo doesn't have the luxury of online experimentation that M$ does; it needs to find a magic formula and stick with it, which it seemingly refuses to do.

    BTW, I bet dollars to donuts that in ~5 years, Yahoo, AOL, and IAC (Ask.com) merge. They could call themselves "That 90's Web Company". LOL
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      BTW, I bet dollars to donuts that in ~5 years, Yahoo, AOL, and IAC (Ask.com) merge. They could call themselves "That 90's Web Company". LOL

      Sorry, LOL.com already appears to be taken.

    • Is it a news aggregator? A search engine? An email service? An online gaming site? A social network? A web hosting company? A bookmark sharing site? A photo sharing site?

      Sorry, are we talking about Google or Yahoo?

      And, to be clear, everything you just pointed out as a negative about Yahoo is a positive for Google. Yahoo's just trying to find the same formula for success that Google did. Failing, but that's what they're trying to do.

      • Sure, Google's offerings are diverse and far from consistently successful. But the distinction is that most of them are home-grown efforts. Sure, there were huge acquisitions like YouTube, Picassa, and SketchUp. But all of these pale in comparison to the gargantuan squandering of resources Yahoo is guilty of in a single purchase: Broadcast.com.

        What can $2 billion dollars accomplish? As was demonstrated by an idiot savant, $2 billion will buy you an NBA championship ring. Management of the $2 billion Yaho
        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Predicted video rental would evolve to use a portable hard drive cartridge system for transferring content between Blockbuster and home. Never saw Blu-Ray coming.

          Did you actually read the article? It's not quite as ridiculous as you are implying, given when it was written.

          Cuban: See above. I don't hate DVDs. I just like the flexibility, portability and choice of hard drives. You tell me which is easier to take on a plane: a 4-gigabyte flash drive with four movies in DVD quality, or four DVDs in their cases

    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @01:42AM (#37323728) Journal

      Here is a secret taught in most business schools.

      Most great companies know who they are and do not void in other areas. What is Yahoo? Yahoo was Yang's cool internet links.

      10 years ago they were the internet yellowpages with awesome links to cool sites and a huge resource for information. Back then before slashdot I used Yahoo for tech news and reading and discovering computer related things. They had stuff for auto enthusiasts and for many different subjects. You didn't need to search unless it was something very specific. It was a great resource for the undeveloped internet to get around in. A cooler version of AOL for tech grownups. Yahoo search was not too bad either if you needed to find other things. They were THEE portal.

      Today the portal SUCKS. It was crippled around 2003/2004 ish. They tried to imitate Google first with focusing users on the search page instead of the portal links and communities. Then No NO we are advertisers put HUGE AD on page. Make Yahoo default homepage!! etc

      Yahoo also had a great IM program (back then) and chat rooms and forums before porn spammers bugged you every 3 minutes with private messages and before spyware/malware was installed in the bloated Yahoo IMs of today.

      To this day they could make a comeback as no one has replaced them yet as a cool portal for communities, groups, and cool links. Google is mostly minimalistic to find something new and that is it. But like HP and and a skeleton of companies that died before them they tried to focus on the dollars and change who they are until they are a no one. Yahoo could have turned into the facebook with Yahoo 360 and into something that still is a void in the market. Mainly a cool portal for everything you need or want that is managed.

      But that is going to be very hard. Ask.com is still around believe it or not but the term Yahoo might as well mean MSN or RealPlayer. They left their roots and focused on cost accounting. They could have bought out Google if they were smart back in 2005 before the IPO. That would have saved them but still. Bad UI designers and wrong focus on ads crippling the portal was their mistake .... and a bad search engine too

      • by jkmartin (816458)

        To this day they could make a comeback as no one has replaced them yet as a cool portal for communities, groups, and cool links.

        Reddit and before them Digg. All I use Yahoo! for now is college football scores.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      "YaWho?"
  • I bet that $44.6 billion dollars Microsoft wanted to give them is looking pretty good in retrospect...

  • by decora (1710862) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @11:31PM (#37323008) Journal

    anyone remember back in the day? when this new mosaic thing was the hot product ? and some thing called 'netscape' your buddy down the hall had on his weirdo 'linux box'?

    did anyone think back then, that we would have to listen to this corporate bullshit? stock price and quarterly earnings? this is what we built the internet for? so we could listen to investment bankers yell at people about ad revenue?

    • Well said. I look around at the endless swamp of copycat startups and wonder why I am in this ridiculous industry. At one point I thought the world was changing, instead of the same tired advertising cliches wrapped up in shiny social apps and glittering cloud storage. The fact that a stagnant stock price is used as evidence of Bartz' failure is itself part of the problem. Haven't these short term metrics already been thoroughly discredited? Then why does the financial press keep returning to them?

      FTLO

    • by snookums (48954)

      The Internet used to be pirate radio, a speakeasy, and the underground press rolled together.

      Now it's television.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @12:09AM (#37323158) Journal
    ... but it's in very poor taste, and heinously unprofessional. Even worse, the fact that they weren't willing to do it in person can make it look like they were trying to hide something, and may even provide sufficient basis to warrant an investigation. They may not have done anything wrong, in which case it will blow over, of course, but it'll still be a bit of a pain in the rear for them for the time being if an investigation does end up happening
    • by Raenex (947668)

      the fact that they weren't willing to do it in person can make it look like they were trying to hide something, and may even provide sufficient basis to warrant an investigation.

      I don't follow your logic. How does over the phone imply they were trying to cover up something? What would have happened differently if it were in person?

      • by mark-t (151149)

        The reasoning is as follows:

        Firing her in person would mean that they were unafraid to confront her on it. There is no reason reason to be afraid to confront her for such a thing unless they weren't intending to be entirely honest with them... it is much easier to lie to somebody over the phone or via email than it is to their face, for instance. If they weren't being honest, then it is possible that they are hiding something they didn't want others to know.

        It's not proof by any stretch... only argu

        • by Raenex (947668)

          That's really weak.

          Alternatively, firing people is uncomfortable no matter what the reason, and given the company's performance there is all the reason in the world to fire her.

          I'd say Occam's Razor applies here, and there's no need to go imagining conspiracy theories.

          • by mark-t (151149)

            As proof? Yes... it's weak. Even at best, circumstantial.

            But it *distinctly* creates an impression of dishonesty... more of a "lying by omission" sort of dishonesty, but dishonesty nonetheless.

            • by Raenex (947668)

              But it *distinctly* creates an impression of dishonesty... more of a "lying by omission" sort of dishonesty, but dishonesty nonetheless.

              Maybe for you, but I find it absurd and conspiracy-prone. People break up over the phone or online, or whatever, not because they are being dishonest, but because it's uncomfortable. Outside of some sense of courtesy or honesty, there really isn't any practical reason for a firing to happen in person.

              • by mark-t (151149)

                If firing somebody is uncomfortable for someone, there's no reason that this someone should have been hiring in the first place. To compare it to breakups is a rather moot point - breakups are personal... hirings and firings are professional matters.

                And of course, people don't generally get fired over the phone anyways. By itself, it represents sufficient deviation from normal behaviour to warrant some suspicion, albeit far from anything that would be actually incriminating.

                Besides, cops investigate

                • by Raenex (947668)

                  If firing somebody is uncomfortable for someone, there's no reason that this someone should have been hiring in the first place. To compare it to breakups is a rather moot point - breakups are personal... hirings and firings are professional matters.

                  Managers are people, and you'd have to be a cold-hearted and sadistic bastard to enjoy firing somebody. Not that some people in management aren't, but to say that you can't be comfortable with firing somebody to be a hiring manager is ridiculous. Firing people is just a necessary, but ugly part of the job.

                  And besides all that, there was plenty of reason to fire her. She was hired to turn around the company and didn't.

    • by adsl (595429)
      If they fire their ceo by telephone, just how do and will they treat the rank and file employees? Does the Chairman know what damage he has just done to Yahoo as a 'place to work"' by acting in this manner? By all means replace a senior exec, if that's necessary, but do it in a formal and respectful manner, or suffer the widespread consequences amongst your employees.
  • Not! Carol! Bartz!

  • that I doubt anyone can save it. This isn't a Carly Fiona situation where the new manager took a good company and turned it into shit for her own personal benefit. It's already shit. Bartz simply discovered that she was incapable of miracles. That's all. What can you do with a company that can't even keep a comics page updated? If you or I couldn't even do that, how long would we last at our jobs?

  • A CEO, or indeed any executive for that matter, fired for something as absurd as not doing their job very well? What is this world coming to? Well, I certainly hope she at the very least has the comfort of a multi-million-dollar severance package.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:57PM (#37331810) Homepage

    Bartz did well at Autodesk. While she was in charge there, Autodesk essentially took over the entire computer animation software industry. They got into solid modeling CAD, where they'd been behind, and are now the leader in that area. She managed to avoid getting Autodesk into anything dumb during the Internet boom, and picked up some good technology in the following bust.

    Autodesk is about the size of Facebook, but doesn't get much press attention.

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