Is Yahoo's CEO Really In A Position To Tell Google What It Needs To Do?

from the i-get-paid-for-interestingness dept

I have to admit, I thought it was pretty amusing to see this headline in the BBC:
Yahoo chief Carol Bartz sees trouble for Google.
What else is she supposed to say? Of course she's going to slag the company that totally destroyed Yahoo at its own game, but the real question is why would anyone listen? Yahoo isn't exactly in the position of being able to say what Google should be doing, given that every single move that Yahoo has tried against Google has failed -- sometimes miserably. Bartz's comments get more amusing the further the article goes on:
"Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search..."
Well, I guess she should know. While she won't admit it, people still tend to think of Yahoo as search as well. And Yahoo spent so much time trying to diversify that if they don't think about Yahoo as search these days... they just think about Yahoo as being a confused jumble of sites that don't do much. In the meantime, despite her claims, it does appear that Google has expanded well beyond search. AdSense (which is about other content sites) makes them lots of money. Pretty much everyone I know uses Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Maps rather than the Yahoo equivalents. I'm trying to think of what other areas Yahoo has expanded into that have been successful for the company.

But the funniest statement of all:
"Google has to grow a company the size of Yahoo every year to be interesting."
I don't think that anyone judges Google based on how "interesting" they are. Is that the metric they use at Yahoo? Does that explain the $47 million she apparently made last year? Because she made Yahoo so interesting? Well, I guess it should be admitted that Yahoo is the company that is trying (and so far, failing) to patent "interestingness," so perhaps she's just urging Google to be interesting for the sake of a future patent fight? In the meantime, I would assume that, at Google, they judge the company based on how much money it makes -- and on that front, it appears to be cleaning Yahoo's clock on a pretty regular basis.

As for "growing a company the size of Yahoo every year," that becomes easier and easier as Yahoo gets smaller and smaller.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Yahoo finance is pretty useful.

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    I was very tempted to find her email address and send a message consisting of the words "U MAD". Then I thought nah, spam filters would catch it. Then I thought wait, this is Yahoo, what spam filters?

    Anyone know her personal email?

     

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

  3.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:16am

    "Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search..."

    "Pretty much everyone I know uses Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Maps rather than the Yahoo equivalents."

    Yeah, I think you nailed it - there's a definite disconnect between her statements and a lot of peoples' experiences. I *think* I still have a Yahoo Mail account, but I've not logged into it for close to a year so who knows? Other than that, I can't remember the last time I intentionally visited Yahoo (i.e. went to the site specifically rather than by following a link to a story).

    Meanwhile, I use Google Docs, Reader, Calendar and GMail daily, and most people I know love Maps and Street View (and to a lesser extent Earth). None of these are indispensable and I could abandon Google as quickly as I abandoned search providers like Yahoo if I find something more useful. I haven't found that yet.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:17am

    Well apparently everyone has forgotten about yahoo answers, which is by far the greatest collection of information by the best minds in their fields.

     

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  5.  
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    awd, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    I find Bartz to be quite annoying, tbh. She took a once-legendary internet company and turned it into nothing more than dust. To be fair, perhaps she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, though any decisions I've seen her make were less than brilliant. She also has the bad habit of putting her foot in it.

    Pretending she knows Google's business better than Google is funny, actually. They're known for their search (that's not exclusively web search), but all their cloud services are also catching on more quickly than she'd care to admit. And let's not forget Android!

     

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  6.  
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    Todd, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    yahoo vs google

    I have quit using Yahoo. There are way to many banner ads and scrolling things. I find that quite annoying. Google has simple screens and has everything I need.

     

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  7.  
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    Yakko Warner, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    Good call. I love Yahoo Answers. I see their stuff linked to on FailBlog all the time.

     

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

  8.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    yeah, actually I hear that even from fiance people. I guess yahoo is more accurate for specific things or something?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    Make sure to send it from your GMAIL account :)

     

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

  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    I weep for humanity every time I see that damned site. It has, however, supplied numerous memes and hilarious moments of astounding stupidity so maybe it's not so bad...

     

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

  11.  
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    milrtime83 (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    that Android thing is becoming quite popular as well.

     

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

  12.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Profit Averse Culture

    Regarding the search business she says,
    "It is only half our business; it's 99.9% of their business. They've got to find other things to do.

    Translation: 50% of yahoo makes (made) money after acquiring Overture in 2003. The other 50% spends money developing emoticons.

    It's pretty much Jerry's fault, with his chronic hasbeenitis clouding upper management with a perverse sense of corporate "culture" (perverse for corporations) that is best described as cool before profitable.

    That being said, Mike, why are you beating down the beaten for whimpering while lying on the ground? Shouldn't Googlites have an unshakable sense of pride at this point?

    Or, deep down, are you thinking, like many investors, that there just a slight possibility Google is in the process of over-extending themselves just as Yahoo did?

     

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

  13.  
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    anonymous, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Re: yahoo vs google

    I am with you Todd!

     

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  14.  
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    Zechmann, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Love your responses to Bartz's claims. Laid out plain and simple. I use to be a big fan of Yahoo (just cause they were the underdog). Now that I've got my own site, I realize how terrible Yahoo is at search, even compared to Bing :/

     

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  15.  
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    jasonstuff, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Thank You!

    When I saw the Headline on BBC I didn't even want to click on it in fear I would support it. Who does she think she is? Is she lost in a dream world.

    Google is coming out with out-of-the-box user friendly tools that make people's lives easier and more efficient. Everyone I know uses Google, Gmail, Maps, Chrome... and with stuff like Android, GVoice, Wave and other incredible products it just makes me wonder what she is drinking by even thinking about being so arrogant. She will regret it I think.

    Who uses Yahoo for much of anything? If I have a Yahoo Mail it's for junk. For those who mentioned Yahoo Answers, I bet you get there by searching in Google first (laugh).

    Not to even bring up YouTube. I know Google bought it but still it's Google's and how many people use that every day!! Yahoo is dieing and not even sure why they are around.

    Google isn't Yahoo! Google is in another league! I am so thankful that you wrote an article titled exactly what I was thinking when I saw the headline this morning. I'm guess most will ignore and laugh at her comment.

     

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  16.  
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    jasonstuff, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    You should check out Google Finance. I do stocks and trading and Yahoo sucks in comparison. I've tried several different kinds but Google Finance is simple, fast and easy

     

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

  17.  
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    Yahoo for Loser, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    uuh, is she b*tching or is she simply talking "yahhoo"

    Google does Business.
    Yahoo does Business of Spam.

     

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  18.  
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    Bias Cop, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    bias > Google

    "Pretty much everyone I know uses Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Maps rather than the Yahoo equivalents. " Then every single one of them is insecure and has been rooted.

     

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

  19.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    You're right, everyone has forgotten about it.

     

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

  20.  
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    Nate, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    If only...

    "It is only half our business; it's 99.9% of their business. They've got to find other things to do."

    Perhaps if Yahoo had focused a little more on search, their other cracker jack projects would be making them some money.

     

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

  21.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    "As for "growing a company the size of Yahoo every year," that becomes easier and easier as Yahoo gets smaller and smaller."

    Ouch.

     

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

  22.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re:

    And I hear they have this web browser called Chrome that a couple people are using, and are developing a similarly named OS for disposable netbooks.

    They may even own a video site that some people use called YouTube or something. But I haven't heard much about that site in a while. Do people still use it?

    My phone has Google written across the back of it for some reason. I don't know why, maybe my phone is made of silly putty and someone put it to the computer screen.

    Google really needs to do more than just have a single search page. They're never going to be bigger than Yahoo at this rate.

     

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

  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re:

    Wait, there's a Google finance? Well, I guess there goes the last thing that Yahoo was useful for. I've got to say, if Google made toilet paper, it wouldn't be fancy, or quilted, or anything like that, but it would work better than everyone else's, and probably be free...

     

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

  24.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: Profit Averse Culture

    The difference is Yahoo did all these things and tried to pull it all together and force users into using Yahoo's services. I stopped using Yahoo after the one of the home page redesigns in the early '00s when it took forever to load about 300 different bits of information just so I could search for "funny pictures of cats".

    Google's search page is clean for search. And you can navigate between services. They don't try to mash everything in front of you at once to show they're trying to be everything to everyone (unless you use iGoogle, but then it's 100% customizable for how clean or cluttered you want it). Google knows you're there for search to go somewhere else ... Yahoo tried to get you to stay instead.

    Google may be overextending, and some of their experiments fail, some fail miserably, but they don't sacrifice their core features to help their failing experiments as much as Yahoo did.

    I haven't visited Yahoo in about 6-8 years, so maybe they've changed, but I will ever remember Yahoo as the one stop shop to get everything and need nothing. Whereas Google's home page is nearly as clean and easy to use as the day I did my first search.

     

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

  25.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    With butt-targeted ads. :)

     

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

  26.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: If only...

    Maybe it's because Google took all of their search money, so they HAD to find money elsewhere. I think the other half of their business income comes from selling their souls.

     

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

  27.  
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    Chris, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Great quote

    This is one of the funniest things I've ever read:
    As for "growing a company the size of Yahoo every year," that becomes easier and easier as Yahoo gets smaller and smaller.

     

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

  28.  
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    Chris, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    I'm pretty sure you're joking here. Yahoo answers contains lots of answers by people who have no idea.

     

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

  29.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Profit Averse Culture

    Google may be overextending, and some of their experiments fail, some fail miserably, but they don't sacrifice their core features to help their failing experiments as much as Yahoo did.


    Agreed Google has taken better care of their core business, search advertising, than Yahoo ever did.

    However, even with the greater resources Google has to work with, the fiscal impact of over-extension (i.e. throwing good money after the bad) cannot be ignored in the long run.

    My entry for analogy Friday: Even the largest, best-equipped army in the world can over-extend itself, get cut off from its supplies, flanked and laid to waste.

     

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

  30.  
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    Really?, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Really? -_-

    Who uses yahoo, really? I love google and their array of apps they have. From Picasa, google earth, goole voice, wave, gmail, YOUTUBE, news, docs...i mean really. yahoo is dead to me.

     

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  31.  
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    Jimr (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    Google is an advertising company who happens to develop and use the internet to deliver its paid ads.

    Similar to how Nike shoes is really a advertising company who happens to make shoes as well.

    Yahoo did not strike me as an advertiser but as 'just' a search portal.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    first let me say that I am a google user but you all should really use your google perfect browser and check your facts... other than search yahoo beats google in every category where there is a comparable service...

    This is just mail...
    Microsoft webmail properties: 256.2 million users
    Yahoo: 254.6 million users
    Google: 91.6 million users
    AOL webmail properties: 48.9 million users

     

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

  33.  
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    Ryan, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Profit Averse Culture

    The analogy doesn't really follow; Google doesn't really have to maintain a their core business--search and advertising--so much as tweak them here and there to stay updated. Search is basically an automated function with an algorithm and a bunch of servers, and Google made its name on the simplicity of the search page.

    Since then, just about all of Google's endeavors have been toward encouraging people to spend more time on the internet and integrate browsing activity with their search and advertising. They have a good vision, excellent execution, and everything they do ties back into their core business model. The link you provided mainly pegged Google as a possible bull because they can't possibly sustain their insane growth forever, with one small sentence suggesting they may ignore their core features in overextending. But like I said, everything they do ties back into that business model, and I think Google has proven to thus far be a company that is forward-thinking, consumer-oriented, and innovative. The more they extend and encourage users to simply use Google, the stronger they get.

    The bigger problems I see would be either a significant shift in the advertising market or a new innovator. But neither one seems likely to happen anytime soon, especially given the comparatively closed and short-sighted approaches of Microsoft, Yahoo, and even Apple.

     

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  34.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Dude when did you get funny ?

    "As for "growing a company the size of Yahoo every year," that becomes easier and easier as Yahoo gets smaller and smaller."

    one word ... BURN!!!

     

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

  35.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Profit Averse Culture

    Search is basically an automated function with an algorithm and a bunch of servers, and Google made its name on the simplicity of the search page.


    True but search does not equal search advertising (key words, and the bidding system for clients). Search is a free service, and search advertising is where they make their money. Two very different beasts, and it is search advertising that generates their revenue. Search brings the eyes, auctioning keywords sells those eyes through.

    Search advertising takes quite a bit of maintenance, much more so than search. It is no easy algorithm. Google does do a pretty good job at keeping this up, and this core piece of their business is doing just fine.

    Investors could care less how many hits a service might get if those hits are not monetized (things work a little differently now than they did in the 90's).

    All I'm saying is Google would do well to ignore Bartz assessment and prudently engage other enterprises, if at all.

    Google's perceived weakness right now is the number of acquired business units in their corporate portfolio which have negative profit margins.

    Google is not weak at this point in time. Do not get me wrong. But also, it would not do well for Google to ignore Econ 101 either.

     

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  36.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re:

    That's why it's called "Yahoo Answers" not "Yahoo Correct Answers".

    Eh, for the most part I don't think it's the answers that are the problem. The questions are the ones that end up on FailBlog.

     

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

  37.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    I wonder how many of those are active accounts as opposed to free accounts that were opened up in 1998 and then promptly forgotten about (GMail being the youngest service by a long, long way)?

    I wonder how many of those accounts are used exclusively for spamming (I can't remember the last time a legit account tried adding me on MSN messenger - a service I only use because some people don't want to move - and I get at least 3 requests a week)?

    I wonder what the cost-to-profit ratio is on each of those accounts (i.e. it doesn't matter that Yahoo has 3 times as many webmail users if they're only 1/5 as profitable as each GMail account)?

    There are many more factors than number of users in this equation, especially when at least one company mentioned has been on a downward slide for the last decade while Google has been on the rise.

     

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  38.  
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    McBeese, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Re:

    I used to find Yahoo! finance pretty useful, but then I stumbled across the free Bloomberg app on the iPhone. Tons of info.

    Bloomberg has recently released a free app for the iPad and it's fantastic. I can't imagine going back to Yahoo.

     

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

  39.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Ya who?

    Ya who?

     

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

  40.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 3:52pm

    Re: bias > Google

    Then every single one of them is insecure and has been rooted.

    That article doesn't say what you claim it says. Not even close. It's so far off I wonder if you linked to the wrong article.

     

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

  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 6:05pm

    Yahoo has lots of experience in making mistakes. Google should listen.

     

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

  42.  
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    McBeese, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:10pm

    Carol Bartz is a misfit

    Carol Bartz comes across to me as a crass and rude person that is entirely the wrong image for a company like Yahoo!, which was founded as the 'fun' web company. I'm sure she can kick ass and drive cost reduction, but that is only part of what Yahoo! needs. That's like throwing ballast out of the plane after the engines have failed. It delays but doesn't change the end result.

    Yahoo! needs a visionary to set direction. Bartz is not a visionary, she's an operations type. The problem is, none of the superior visionaries I've ever met would even consider working for a troll like Carol Bartz. You think an up-and-coming Steve Jobs or Bill Gates is going to put up with being cussed at by a technical incompetent like Bartz? Nuh-uh, ain't going to happen.

    So Carol, you don't like it when armchair commenters pontificate on what yahoo needs to do. Too bad. Sorry. The bottom line is that you need to hire a CEO who can lead the company while you streamline it. That would be the most competent move you could make.

    By the way, on the day when I'm reading about Bartz' views of Google's problems, the Yahoo iPad app was crashing to the point of being unusable. Nice commercial, Carol.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    shailesh, May 1st, 2010 @ 3:26am

    If google or any other mail server marks U MAD as spam,stop using that server.
    False positives are more horrible than some spam.
    No one wants important mail to go Junk folder.

     

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

  44.  
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    Carol, May 1st, 2010 @ 6:19pm

    Re:

     

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

  45.  
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    Carol Bartz, May 1st, 2010 @ 6:23pm

    I have advice for Microsoft: stop sucking so much, you couldn't even buy a company the size of Yahoo. Suckers!

     

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

  46.  
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    Mike, May 3rd, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    @PaulT:

    "Pretty much everyone I know uses Gmail". So you have 10 friends that use Gmail? Do you realize that Yahoo mail crushes Gmail in terms of usage?

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Mike, May 3rd, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    Re: yahoo vs google

    Google is a search engine not a portal, Yahoo is a portal with a search engine. You seem to be confusing the two. If you want to search on Yahoo without all the clutter, just go to search.yahoo.com. How hard is that?

     

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

  48.  
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    Mike, May 3rd, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Profit Averse Culture

    you last visited yahoo 6-8 years ago and you're commenting on this article? What an idiot. Everything on the web was different 6-8 years ago!!

    I hate people that act like they know what they're talking about and they don't even know what these companies really do to make money.

     

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

  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    first let me say that I am a google user but you all should really use your google perfect browser and check your facts... other than search yahoo beats google in every category where there is a comparable service...

    This is just mail...
    Microsoft webmail properties: 256.2 million users
    Yahoo: 254.6 million users
    Google: 91.6 million users
    AOL webmail properties: 48.9 million users



    lol, lol, really, not comparable guy, I probably have 10 yahoo email addys myself, I use them as throw away for site registration etc..., I give my real addy, my own website email or my gmail to real people I know or business use, everything else is for junk that I don't check and don't care about

    yeah for real, I find yahoo earth to be better, oh wait nvm, maybe yahoo maps? no, no don't think so

    so what does yahoo do better?? that's right cram as much useless crap on a web page as humanly possible flood you with non stop spam and ads

     

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

  50.  
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    lrobbo (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Yahoo just sucked big time, more so in 2012 than ever. I don't know a single person that uses them. Most people just think google is the internet . . .

     

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


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