22 Sep Yahoo! – A giant that couldn’t survive
About two decades ago, in the nineteen-nineties, Yahoo started off as a directory for the Internet, where you would submit your website, to be found by users. Within the first couple of years, the directory grew, adding new services: e-mail; a personalized start page, MyYahoo; financial news; stock quotes; Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Search. The giant’s messaging app arguably set stage for today’s big guns’ Facebook and Google messaging services, and its search engine was actually the only alternative to Google.
As the consumers moved towards mobile, and new players coming in to play with mainly two platform leaders, Yahoo kept trying to be relevant to masses with its new products. Yahoo Answers, Flickr and Tumblr are still used by millions of people around the world, though neither of them could be considered leaders within their own clan.
This “me too” strategy turned out to be Yahoo’s worst enemy. The company had too many redundant products, not a single one of them gave the users what the other companies didn’t. Yahoo had its foot in so many places, that it started losing balance and investing too much in products that didn’t churn in any revenues. Today, Yahoo remains largely the same company it was a decade ago. It failed to evolve in most cases, and when it did, it didn’t bring anything unique. What was once worth over $125 billion, in a position to buy new entrants Facebook or Google, has now been brought down to merely $4.8 billion.
Of course, this is not the only case when a yesterday’s leader has faded into nothing.
Such was the fate of once-giant, Nokia, that its whole smartphone business was bought by Microsoft for a lower price than the messaging service Skype.
There was a time when cameras meant Kodak, there was no other player. Their fall began when consumer habits shifted due to a new, more convenient technology, and while their own engineers came up with new-age solutions (albeit, expensive), the company’s top management was unable to foresee how much of a game changer this digital photography was going to be. It didn’t evolve when competitors came into play, and lost the key to regain their strength.
Common denominator in most such cases is the fact that they didn’t take the plunge at the right moment. But that’s pretty much how innovation works; one can never stop evolving. As long as the needs of a consumer are changing, there will always be someone to fulfil it. Whether it’s the Snapchat allowing people to share live short videos, or Facebook realizing this threat and coming up with its own by-product; its highly imperative for businesses, especially in the technology field, to be on their feet, all the time.
Say what you will about Facebook and Google trying to get control of your life, the fact is, they know what will make you get closer to them, and this is their winning angle.
Author: Ayaz Noor Muhammad