Tech Roundup: The End of Yahoo, the Problem No Executive Could Fix


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A Verizon store in Chicago. The company, which is poised to close its deal to buy Yahoo, plans to lay off 2,100 employees from the combined work force of that company and AOL.

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Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg

Next week, the long-struggling business known as Yahoo will finally become part of Verizon, combining its resources with Verizon-owned AOL, another internet pioneer that lost its way. Not surprisingly, about 2,100 people are expected to lose their jobs. That’s about 15 percent of the combined work force, Vindu Goel writes.

It is, in the end, a quiet conclusion to years of drama. The joke often made in tech circles is that Yahoo is where good executive reputations go to die. There is some truth to that.

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Yahoo turned out to be a management Waterloo for Terry S. Semel, a successful entertainment boss who tried to enhance Yahoo content. He was followed by Jerry Yang, the Yahoo co-founder who had the prescience to invest in the Chinese internet company Alibaba — a large financial boon over time — but otherwise did not do much to fix the company.

There was Carol Bartz, a widely respected software executive who could not figure out how to turn things around. Yahoo was also briefly run by Scott Thompson, who was forced out after a résumé scandal.

And let’s not forget Marissa Mayer, the admired Google executive who took over Yahoo’s corner office and in five years did not have much more to show than her predecessors. She is the one who gets to turn off the lights.

Yahoo’s share price rose by $5.16 after shareholders officially approved the Verizon deal Thursday, to close at $55.71 a share. Based on the increase, Ms. Mayer will depart with $264 million for her five years of work at Yahoo, up from $239 million last Friday.

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