Will Scott Thompson Fix Yahoo!?
5 years. 3 CEOs. What makes Scott different? He actually codes. He was the CTO and president for PayPal. But it appears employees are excited to have him on board. One employee from Yahoo! mentioned in Wall Street Journal described having Thompson as a “relief.”
Yahoo! has a lot of stuff. Stuff that nobody really wants anymore because there are better versions of that stuff from other providers. It’s a lot of clutter and distraction, and frankly they’re playing catch up. Thompson gets this, and he doesn’t seem like a guy to slowly coast Yahoo! to its death.
He is committed to innovation. But why didn’t the last CEO? She (Carol Bartz) seemed to commit to threats and profanities. When she took over, her intention was to give Yahoo! “some friggin’ breathing room.” Of course, she failed to turn the company around and was fired over the phone.
A sign that Yahoo! might actually come back around is the Yahoo! Connected TV. The main features will be interaction between iPhone/iPad/Android and the television; but with a social twist so it’s not just another remote control app. It will be launched in early 2012.
The monetization of the Connected TV could turn out to be great for Yahoo!. The technology will identify what program is on the TV and display relevant ads and content based on that program. It could be a total game changer, like Pop Up video was for VH1 years ago, or Shazam for music tagging today.
But will Thompson change Yahoo!’s relationship with Bing, or adjust their search platform? It’s too soon to tell. His background certainly doesn’t fit Yahoo!’s growing role as a news content provider. However, some insiders expect him to take mobile very seriously.
One thing seems clear, they don’t care to own the standard desktop space anymore. This is probably a good thing, as they are too far behind Google to innovate. If you depend on off-desktop devices for your websites, don’t write off Yahoo! as a thing of the past just yet. If you use paid advertising, watch them closely.