Verizon Wants $1 Billion Discount After Yahoo Scandals, Still Fancies Itself The New Google

from the we're-innovative-if-we-say-we-are dept

With wireless and fixed-line broadband growth slowing, Verizon has been steadily expanding into new growth territories to try and please insatiable investors. So far, that apparently includes buying failed 90s internet brands like Yahoo and AOL in the belief that it can somehow become a Millennial advertising juggernaut. Except that hasn’t been going particularly well, as the stodgy old telco realizes that it’s kind of hard to innovate when you’ve spent the last thirty years bumbling about as a government-pampered telecom monopoly almost solely focused on turf protection.

And things have been going notably worse for Verizon over the last month, as the company has acknolwedged that Yahoo failed to reveal not only the 2014 hack of 500 million user accounts, but also its recently disclosed wholesale e-mail spying for the U.S. government during negotiations. That has prompted rumors that Verizon is looking for a billion-dollar discount off the original $4.8 billion Yahoo asking price:

“In the last day we?ve heard that [AOL boss] Tim [Armstong] is getting cold feet. He?s pretty upset about the lack of disclosure and he?s saying, ?Can we get out of this or can we reduce the price??? said a source familiar with Verizon?s thinking. That might just be tough talk to get Yahoo to roll back the price. Verizon had been planning to couple Yahoo with its AOL unit to give it enough scale to be a third force to compete with Google and Facebook for digital ad dollars.

Of course “scale” isn’t enough to compete with Facebook and Google when you lack anything resembling disruptive or innovative DNA, though Verizon seems intent on learning this the hard way. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says the company has no intention of backing away from the deal, and continues to insist that despite Yahoo being a vicious shitshow, it’s the missing link necessary to transform Verizon from stodgy old telco to innovative advertising juggernaut:

“I think, and we?ll see how AOL and Yahoo come together, but I think that entity can be easily one of the top three,? McAdam said at the conference. ?I think we can provide the content and applications that will stand up with anything that goes up on the West Coast.”

Right. But so far, there’s absolutely zero indication that’s going to be the case. One of the key cornerstones of Verizon’s attack plan has been Go90, a new streaming video service tailored to Millennials. The problem? Those advertising and content partners McAdam claims are so excited about Verizon’s entry into the market think the platform is a disaster of colossal proportions:

“Early on, we thought the platform had promise, but it was an absolute dud when it launched,? says one Go90 publishing partner. ?We get the sense that unless you?re one of the premier folks they paid piles of money to [for original content], there isn?t much there from a traffic perspective,? said another. ?Based on the plan they had originally laid out, it would have been a mid-tier platform for us ? millions of views per month, at worst ? but it?s turned out to be far, far worse than their projections,? says yet another.”

Fancy! So not only did Verizon gobble up a number of underwhelming 90s internet brands in the hopes of striking it rich in content, its own foray into content has been painfully underwhelming (something that should have been apparent to anybody who remembers Verizon’s first, brief attempt at original content, SugarString). Combine that with the money Verizon will have to dole out once the lawsuits over the Yahoo hack begin flooding in, and you’ve got the kind of pivot and metamorphosis that makes Jeff Goldblum’s experience in The Fly look arguably pleasant.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: verizon, yahoo

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Verizon Wants $1 Billion Discount After Yahoo Scandals, Still Fancies Itself The New Google”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Roger Strong (profile) says:

Wait... What?

> …Yahoo failed to reveal not only the 2014 hack of 500 million user accounts, but also its recently disclosed wholesale e-mail spying for the U.S. government during negotiations.

So this opens up the possibility that the 2014 hack didn’t go unnoticed. Instead the users weren’t warned that their personal information was leaked, because it would hurt Yahoo’s sale price during negotiations.

Norahc (profile) says:


Verizon, and every other legacy media or telecommunications company, is VERY innovative.

After all, it takes a lot of innovation to figure out how to charge your customers more while giving them less all the while saying it is better for the customers.

It takes innovation to get a contract with the government, fail to complete the contract terms, and say that you’ve met the requirements (fiber optic roll outs).

It takes real innovation to consistently provide your customers horrible customer service in new ways so you can keep in the running for worst company awards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yahoo is indeed a shitshow

I’ve seen a lot of operations during my time here: corporations, ISPs, universities, governments. I’ve worked for a bunch of them as either an employee or a consultant. Some had 5 users, some had 50 million, some have lasted for decades, some imploded in a year.

I have difficulty thinking of one that is more incompetently run, at the operational level, than Yahoo. You could get better results handing the servers to crack monkeys. Every decent technical person I knew there has fled, and the operation is now being handled by newbies who have no idea how it works. (Think of of those sci-fi stories where all the people who knew how to fly the spacecraft died 20 generations ago.)

Verizon is going to pick their bones (and AOL’s bones) clean and discard the rest. A lot of legacy stuff, like all the archives of YahooGroups, will be destroyed in the process, because Yahoo doesn’t give a damn about saving any of it. The personnel will be jettisoned (stockholders love that) and Verizon will fumble around three or four times trying to make something out of it before they finally admit defeat and shutter it completely.

Anonymous Coward says:

Internal sources point out verizons plan:

Obtain yahoo. ‘accidentally’ throttle google beyond users willingness to wait (make it so searches ALWAYS take between 5 and 10 seconds)
– This will be done by not returning the ACTUAL page, but by running the search itself, then returning an edited and severely delayed “” fake page to the customer with the time taken line edited/removed.

Because apparently Verizon thinks its customers are THAT stupid.

Wildfire Phoenix says:

Oh S@*$&

Great …… D: , anyone know an ISP who can give me 150mbps upload and download for internet speed and the actual choice of picking whatever TV channels that I want and not the BS that never gets watched like soap operas / drama, sports and others like them.

Also I have Verizon and the TV end of the agreement sucks very. very, very fiercely. Since when the hell did sports have anything thing to do with Sci-Fi. Part of Verzion’s stupidity right there, Sports + the “sports channel taxes” + Sci-Fi = Total BS

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...