Yahoo! Tells Google to Diversify…?!

April 30th, 2010 |

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Jeff Louis is a strategic media planner, brand project manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. He's intrigued by innovation overcoming adversity, survival of the fittest brand, history, reading, and similar fun stuff. He writes for sites and is the Public Relations and Advertising writer for the Chicago Examiner.

Yahoo.LogoYahoo! suggesting business strategies to Google is like Goldman Sachs advising Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway) on how to invest successfully. Not only is Yahoo! behind Google in nearly every category (email, search engine capabilities, online apps, etc.), but even their name sounds like a joke when compared to competitors.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that Yahoo! has some great offerings; their small business site hosting is fantastic, and their analytics are simple to understand and use. Yet, other than those two products, I don’t tend to use Yahoo! very often. Google, for me, has pretty much invaded my online world.

GOOGLE.LOGLThus, when I read that Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz has spurned Google for their “lack of diversity,” I was a bit taken aback. I then thought that maybe Bartz was just being tricky, trying to throw Google off their game. The reason I say this is because the criticism stemmed from her opinion that the search engine giant was too focused on search. Huh?

What in the world was she talking about? Google’s clearly dominant in search, but has also cornered the market with a host of other services, including Gmail, Buzz, Google Docs, Google Maps, Nexus One, Google Earth, Google Voice, WAVE, YouTube, iGoogle, and their recent move to purchase dark fiber to compete with online service providers. It should also be noted that the services listed are just a smidgen of Google’s portfolio. Google’s own declaration on diversity is proof that this is an area in which the company places great pride. In fact, if you go to their Diversity page, you can read it with your own eyes (or below):

Never judge a search engine by its interface. Behind that simple search window is one of the most complex technology infrastructures in the world. And it’s run by an equally diverse group of people. At Google, we don’t just accept difference—we thrive on it. We celebrate it. And we support it, for the benefit of our employees, our products and our community.

Bartz’s not-so-subtle words, like a quick jab, were that the Mountain View-based company needed to  “do a lot more than search” if they were to maintain their current market share and position.

Excuse me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t Google be described as “dominant” in nearly every category?

According to BBC news, Bartz said, “Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search.”  Search, she continued, comprises half of Yahoo’s business while at Google, it’s 99% of their business. She then quipped, “Google has to grow a company the size of Yahoo! every year to be interesting.”

I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh or cry, especially in the face of Nielsen statistics showing Yahoo! with an audience of 200 million users in 20 countries operating 70 sites and services. While Yahoo! is earmarked as a global contender, critics cite its huge size as being “too wide-reaching” while claiming that the company’s acquisitions haven’t been utilized. Techcrunch wrote that Yahoo! is where “startups go to die.”

Bartz, however, believes that Yahoo! will one day rival Facebook. Yahoo! is planning to expand,  and is  rumored to be ogling Foursquare as yet another website to add to their “empire.”

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Jeff Louis