As I’ve written, Yahoo!’s future is murky, it may be acquired, and it exists in a sort of funny kind of limbo. It’s a phenomenally popular site with hundreds of millions of visitors, and yet, most of its value is locked up in its partial stake in Alibaba, and to a lesser extent, Tumblr and Flickr.
As VentureBeat reports, the company’s board members are putting their heads together to determine whether or not to sell off its core sports, mail, and advertising businesses. If Yahoo! were to sell off those lines of business, it would seem to basically become a holding company for its previous acquisitions.
Regardless of what happens, I’m reminded of F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s quote, “There are no second acts in American lives,” which I once heard applied – I don’t recall where – to internet companies. With perhaps one exception – Apple, which isn’t really an internet company – the historic landscape of the tech industry is littered with the remnants of firms that, for one reason or another, never came back from the brink. The internet is a vast and unforgiving place, and a comeback for Yahoo! seems unlikely. It would be sad to see its core businesses sold for scrap to various Web 2.0 firms, but history simply isn’t on its side. And maybe a reset of sorts is what Yahoo! needs. As Fitzgerald also wrote, “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”