Yahoo has long been one of the most popular internet destinations. But the question is, Who Owns Yahoo? It used to be the go-to site for news, email, sports scores, and more. However, Yahoo’s fortunes have changed. Nowadays, it is struggling to stay relevant in the digital age. One of the most common questions is now who owns Yahoo?
Yahoo was founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo. They were Stanford graduate students with a vision to make an easy-to-use directory of websites. But they weren’t the only ones who had that idea! There was no Google or Facebook back then, so it’s hard to say if their timing was good or bad. What we do know is that they made $4 billion when
Who Owns Yahoo?
The entire point of creating Yahoo! as a directory was to make it easier to navigate the web. It was a free, ad-supported service for the first few years. In 1998, Yahoo! paid $4.2 billion for a competing directory, AltaVista. By this time, Yahoo! was already profitable. This purchase cemented the company as a serious player on the internet scene. Yahoo! went public the following year and set off a severe bidding war between Microsoft and AOL. Ultimately, Yahoo! settled for $44 billion. Microsoft ended up purchasing AOL for $190 billion. That’s a whole lot of money that Yahoo! didn’t have at the time.
Fast forward to the present day, and we find Yahoo! struggling to keep its leadership position.
Yahoo’s History and Rise to Fame
Founders David Filo and Jerry Yang, The co-founders of Yahoo, were university students at Stanford University. Yang, the “technical” one, left after his freshman year, but Filo stayed until 1996. They met at a computer lab and hit it off as close friends. Filo’s dad was a politician who fought the takeover of rice farms in Hawaii. Yang remembers coming to the US from Taiwan in 1978. He moved with his family to Hawaii and went to the same high school as Filo. So there was already a connection there, even before they became friends. It was Yang who came up with the idea for Yahoo in his senior year. He remembers thinking:
One of the things we came up with was this directory of websites that connected you to other sites that you would use.
Why did Yahoo’s fortunes change?
Yahoo became a serious business when it acquired the internet portal AllWeb from Merrill Lynch in 1996. The merger with AltaVista that created Yahoo! bought AllWeb’s web directory capabilities but lost AllWeb’s “God View” capability, which allowed it to keep track of its users’ activity.
A couple of years later, Yahoo made a second major acquisition of another small website, Broadcast.com. However, after spending a combined $11 billion dollars on Yahoo and AltaVista, Merrill Lynch was forced to file for bankruptcy, leaving its share of the companies to Yahoo.
As if things weren’t enough, Yahoo sold off a piece of its search business to DoubleClick, an advertising company owned by Germany’s Axel Springer.
What Happens To Yahoo Now?
As of today, Yahoo has seen a lot of change in the last 20 years. The most significant change came in 2005 when Marissa Mayer took over as CEO. Mayer, who was Google’s first female engineer, helped Yahoo update its strategy and make it relevant again.
But the new strategy was complex and seemed to be working in reverse. Yahoo struggled to make money, and the stock price continued to drop. So Mayer came up with the plan to spin off the advertising and search side of the business in 2014.
Earlier this year, Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo’s core internet business for $4.48 billion, but it also announced that it would be throwing in a $750 million in Yahoo stock. Even with that move, Yahoo’s stock continued to fall. In fact, in 2017, it traded below $13 a share.
The Future of Yahoo
Yahoo has invested billions of dollars into two things in the past few years: mobile apps and “programmatic advertising.” It hasn’t worked out too well. Mobile apps have been slow to catch on with the public. And that “programmatic advertising” used to be one of the most efficient advertising platforms. But this platform came with a lot of spam, malware, and fraud, making it a poor investment.
In 2014, Yahoo bought video platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion. This was a long time coming. Tumblr was a popular microblogging site that was founded in 2007.
Unfortunately, Tumblr wasn’t able to help Yahoo right the ship. Most people don’t read all the long-form blogs on Tumblr, making it a mediocre place for news.
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