Yahoo's Big Miss Further Demonstrates That Competing Requires More Than Just Copying

from the sounds-familiar dept

Yesterday, we wrote about how, despite Microsoft's technology advances (in some cases better than Google), it hasn't been able to keep up with Google in terms of market share. The same story could be said for Yahoo as well. In fact, Wired News is running an entire article on how Yahoo "blew" their opportunity. After deciding not to buy Google in 2002 for $5 billion (they felt the price was way too high), the company proceeded to buy Inktomi and then the key piece of their strategy, Overture. The idea was to recreate what Google had done internally. It wasn't hard to figure out what Google had done, but despite the supposed simplicity of "copying," Yahoo discovered that it's not so easy to just make your own Google. They ran into all sorts of strategic problems as they moved forward. Again, the technology part wasn't the real issue. Copying what Google has done is possible -- but doing so in a way that actually beats Google in the market is a totally different problem, and it's not one you solve by simply copying the leader.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 1:36pm

    Yahoo is not really a copy of Google

    I think Google and Yahoo have been substantially different from each other and have taken very different approaches to their businesses. There are some surface similarities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Geoffrey Kidd (profile), Jan 17th, 2007 @ 1:43pm

    Kipling had it right long ago...

    And they asked me how I did it, and I gave 'em the Scripture text,
    "You keep your light so shining a little in front o' the next!"
    They copied all they could follow, but they couldn't copy my mind,
    And I left 'em sweating and stealing a year and a half behind.
    Rudyard Kipling "The Mary Gloster"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 2:40pm

    turn it around and it argues for copying as road t

    The article explains that Google saw what Overture was doing with thier ads and realized it was the way to go. They wrote thier own software copying Overture and now they've not only overtaken Overture but also their main competitor - Yahoo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 2:57pm

    Road to Riches

    Copying is the Road to Riches! That was the end of the subject line for comment #3. I could see the full line in the preview screen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 3:33pm

    Yahoo sued Google for infringing Overture's patent

    Because Google copied Overture Yahoo sued and they ended up settling with Google giving Yahoo 2.7 million shares of Google in return for a perpetual license for Overture's patent. Licensing patents can really pay off!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Spud, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 3:40pm

    If Yahoo are to break out of there rut and become a major threat to Google then they need to start to innovate. It’s time they came up with there own stuff and also developed a product that is either (a) way better than what anyone else is doing or (b) create something new and cool that everyone wants.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Dave Walker, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 4:29pm

    Re:

    I used to be a Yahoo customer but eventually canceled all my accounts and moved on. I was tired of all of their services being almost good enough but not quite.

    -Yahoo had picture sharing but you had to pay extra to share anything more than 640x480. They only had mediocre file sharing. Google is working on GDrive and even allows you to share Word and Excel documents in real time.
    - Yahoo had great mail service (that I was willing to pay for) but I had to constantly login (whereas Google doesn't constantly ask me for my password when I tell it to remember it). Now Google has more storage space for its non-paying customers than Yahoo has for its paying customers.
    - They had my domain but charged a fortune for DIY web hosting.
    - Their search page takes forever to load compared to Google
    - They are missing newsgroup searching

    Honestly.. Yahoo has ALOT of potential but it will never succeed until someone gets behind the helm and gets that company moving. Too bad i'm not a CEO. I could really do amazing things with that organization if given the chance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 4:44pm

    Yahoo!'s death

    I will be prepared to bet that Yahoo! keeps on hanging around for years, but its market share will also continue to drop almost imperceptably, until they eventually turn into a company that is remembered as a company which was OK for its time, but has become like an old man in his second childhood, fading fast. I would guess that by 2020, this will have happened.

    By the time the young people of today, who used yahoo! when we were kids, are in thier thirties/forties, we will most likely be using it as the example of a failed company, which waas good, but never quite innovative or lucky enough to stay ahead.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Internet slug, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 4:45pm

    Yahoo on it's way out like Excite

    Boo hoooo oooooooo
    (sung by the yahoo yodeler

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:06pm

    Re:

    Brilliant analysis Spud! Why hasn't Yahoo thought of that!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    syn_ack, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:10pm

    Google Too

    They've done the same thing. Can you say Goggle Video? Goggle Answers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:29pm

    Re: turn it around and it argues for copying as ro

    The article explains that Google saw what Overture was doing with thier ads and realized it was the way to go. They wrote thier own software copying Overture and now they've not only overtaken Overture but also their main competitor - Yahoo.

    A few things. First, despite what the article says, Google did not "copy" Overture. It took a very different approach. At the time Google launched, Overture's approach was extremely different. So it's hard to say they "copied" them.

    If anything, what they did was invent a better solution -- one that Overture *should* have done from the beginning.

    The fact that it was much better is what won them the market, not the copying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Ken, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:48pm

    Innovation.

    That's all that is important.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:51pm

    What does copying mean if not this?

    Google did not "copy" Overture but Google is paying Yahoo! 2.7 million shares for patent infringement for Overture's patent. In any event, Yahoo! was the first with web search and then Google came along with web search. Yahoo had e-mail and then Google came out with e-mail. Yahoo had Yahoo Finance and now Google has Google Finance etc. etc. etc. Who is copying who?

    I think this argument is silly. We're talking about huge corporations with similar markets and who's making more money. And you're trying to compare this to something like copying an iPod?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 8:08pm

    Microsoft

    Nothing argues the success of copying better than Microsoft.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Search Engines WEB, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 8:31pm

    Google Yahoo Microsoft AltaVista Excite

    It is ironic that Yahoo decided not to purchase Google in 2002, because that was the year - they actually began using the Google SERPs instead of Inktomi - and replaced the default search listings with Google instead of the Yahoo Directory.


    But, even more dramatic is about 4 to 5 years earlier, Google was attempting to sell their technology to AltaVista and Excite for One Milliion dollars and no one accepted

    And in 2003, Microsoft attempted to buy Google, or form a partnership, but was refused

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Historian, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 10:05am

    Re: What does copying mean if not this?

    "In any event, Yahoo! was the first with web search"

    Ummm, no.. Try WebCrawler which was eventually purchased by AOL.

    "Yahoo had e-mail"

    While Hotmail may not have been the first.. it was certaily around before Yahoo had email..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Bill, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 10:53am

    Ok, not first but well before Google.

    I really meant that Yahoo was the first of the two with web search. I was comparing Yahoo and Google with all these points. If anyone was copying (of the two) it was NOT Yahoo copying Google.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    forget this thread!

    This story was defective from the beginning. Please just ignore it, nothing to see here, move along!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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