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Snapchat is the missing piece in Yahoo’s play for teens


We are in the midst of a dot-com renaissance. There are – to use the scientific term – a crap ton of start-up internet companies around these days, many valued in the tens or hundreds of millions. While some start-ups are deserving of such phenomenal valuations, many darlings of the start-up world are emotionally overvalued by venture capitalists and angel investors clamouring for a piece of the next big thing.

The line between company and product is a little blurry at the moment. Just because your start-up produced a popular app or website doesn’t mean you can spin that into a successful company. Facebook, for example, was able to scale quickly, offer a wide variety of products and services, and has started introducing new forms of monetization. That’s a company. Niche, single-purpose apps like Instagram and Vine are products, and are better suited to being part of a larger company – in their case, Facebook and Twitter, respectively. Yet many start-ups seem to believe they can run a long term business around a single app, and make enough money on their own to survive. Continue reading

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What is Yahoo Trying to Become?

Yahoo is attempting to procure Tumblr for $1.1 billion, and its board will meet on Sunday night to discuss the deal, according to Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher of AllThingsD — who at this point may have a direct line into Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s occipital lobe (Updatethe deal has been approved by Yahoo’s board, says Kara Swisher). With over 100 million visitors per month, according to comScore, and 108 million blogs, according to Tumblr’s homepage, Tumblr could be a great acquisition for just about any major company. But what kind of company is Yahoo trying to become?

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Google VP Marissa Mayer is The New President and CEO of Yahoo

One of the top executives at Google has found a new home. Marissa Mayer, VP of Local at Google, has been tapped to become the next President and CEO of Yahoo. Mayer, 37, was one of the more public faces of Google during her tenure. Today is Mayer’s last day at Google, and she will take over the fledgling tech company on July 17.

During her time at Google Mayer has been responsible for the designs of the Google homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. After taking over as VP of Location and Local services, Mayer led a team of over 1,000 product managers as they developed products like Google Maps.

Google’s 20th employee and originally an engineer, Mayer has become one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley, alongside Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and IBM chief Virginia Rometty. Last month, I included Marissa Mayer on my list of the 10 most influential women in tech.

Press release:

SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 16, 2012

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) today announced that it has appointed Marissa Mayer as President, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors effective July 17, 2012.  The appointment of Ms. Mayer, a leading consumer internet executive, signals a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue for one of the world’s largest consumer internet brands, whose leading properties include Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Mobile, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Search.

Mayer said, “I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users.  I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”

Most recently, Mayer was responsible for Local, Maps, and Location Services for Google, the company’s suite of local and geographical products including Google Maps, Google EarthZagat, Street View, and local search, for desktop and mobile.  Mayer joined Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and led efforts for many of Google’s most recognizable products, including the development of its flagship search product and iconic homepage for over 10 years.  Mayer managed some of Google’s most successful innovations, launching more than 100 features and products including image, book and product search, toolbar, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail – creating much of the “look and feel” of the Google user experience.

Yahoo! Co-Founder David Filo said, “Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting strategists in technology development.  I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo’s product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors.”

“The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa’s unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity,” said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Mayer received her B.S. in Symbolic Systems and her M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, specializing in artificial intelligence for both degrees. She is credited as an inventor on several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.

“Yahoo!’s products will continue to enhance our partnerships with advertisers, technology and media companies, while inspiring and delighting our users. There is a lot to do and I can’t wait to get started,” Mayer said.

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Spotify Gets Distribution Deal With Yahoo, Will Add Play Button to Yahoo Media Network

After spreading their ‘Play Button‘ around the web earlier this year, Spotify has struck a deal  with Yahoo, bringing the music-streaming widget to the eyes of ‘nearly 700M monthly users,’ on Yahoo’s Media Network. The play button will initially roll out on Yahoo Music, and will eventually make its way around Yahoo’s entire network of sites. Yahoo will also have an app on Spotify later this year.


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Yahoo! Files Lawsuit Against Facebook for Patent Infringement

In what may be their craziest move yet, Yahoo brought  a lawsuit against Facebook for patent infringement, according to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD. Earlier this year, Yahoo threatened a lawsuit against the social media giant, if it did not license 10 to 20 patents relating to messaging, advertising, social networking, and the personalization of websites.

Yahoo’s statement to AllThingsD:

“Yahoo! has invested substantial resources in research and development through the years, which has resulted in numerous patented inventions of technology that other companies have licensed. These technologies are the foundation of our business that engages over 700 million monthly unique visitors and represent the spirit of innovation upon which Yahoo! is built. Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court. We are confident that we will prevail.”

In a statement to ZDNet, Facebook said:

“We’re disappointed that Yahoo’s effort to engage with us was limited to a few short phone calls and that we continue to learn of new developments about a long-time partner through the press. We will defend ourselves vigorously against these puzzling actions.”

The full lawsuit can be read here.