Mark the date of February 28, 2012 as the official death of Yahoo!. Sure there are still people there collecting paychecks and day traders making a buck or two playing games with the stock price, but today Yahoo! waved the white flag. How so? Well, today it was announced that Yahoo! has become yet another patent troll by threatening to sue Facebook. In other words, Yahoo! has admitted that it can’t compete, can’t innovate, can’t figure a way forward and thus will hire lawyers to be its revenue generation engine. Kara Swisher properly calls it the “Kodak Strategy.”
I can’t begin to even explain how profoundly disappointed I am with Yahoo’s decision. It wasn’t just the way the started this war (classless) or their choice of timing (blatantly opportunistic), but the fact that they have opted out of the club of companies that are innovating and creating jobs for this country. No longer should we mention them when talking about the Internet stalwarts or listen to anything they think about policy or innovation. Because they won’t / can’t compete and now decide to sue instead of taking responsibility for their current situation.
I would argue as a shareholder the most responsible thing for Yahoo! to do is to liquidate the company and put the patent assets in a trust that will pay out over the next X years. Clearly, if they aren’t going to compete why stay in business? Why do they employ engineers, product managers, marketing folks, etc. when good startups can use these talented people? As a citizen of the Internet, I also urge a boycott of the company and the decisions makers behind this when they go to look for their next job.
Goodbye Yahoo! As an early adopter and sideline cheerleader of you for the past 15 years, you’ve managed to destroy all of your goodwill in one stupid, poorly thought out and evil move.