This article covers the history of the popular web portal Yahoo! Inc.
Early history (1994-1996)
In January 1994, Stanford graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo created a website named "David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" . David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web was a directory of other web sites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages (Dell XPS M1210 Battery) .
In April 1994, "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" was renamed "Yahoo!". "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle" is a backronym for this name, but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name because they liked the word's general definition, as in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift: "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth (Dell Studio XPS 1340 Battery) ."
By the end of 1994, Yahoo! had already received one million hits. Yang and Filo realized their website had massive business potential, and on 2 March 1995, Yahoo! was incorporated. On 12 April 1996, Yahoo! had its initial public offering, raising $33.8 million dollars, by selling 2.6 million shares at $13 each (Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery) .
"Yahoo" had already been trademarked for barbecue sauce, knives (by EBSCO Industries) and human propelled watercraft (by Old Town Canoe Co.). Therefore, in order to get the trademark, Yang and Filo added the exclamation mark to the name. However, the exclamation mark is often incorrectly omitted when referring to Yahoo (Dell Vostro 1710 Battery) !
Like many search engines and web directories, Yahoo! diversified into a Web portal. In the late 1990s, Yahoo!, MSN, Lycos, Excite and other Web portals were growing rapidly. Web portal providers rushed to acquire companies to expand their range of services, in the hope of increasing the time a user stays at the portal (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ11S Battery) .
On 8 March 1997, Yahoo! acquired online communications company Four11. Four11's webmail service, Rocketmail, became Yahoo! Mail. Yahoo! also acquired ClassicGames.com and turned it into Yahoo! Games. Yahoo! then acquired direct marketing company Yoyodyne Entertainment, Inc. on 12 October 1998. On 28 January 1999, Yahoo! acquired web hosting provider GeoCities. Another company Yahoo! acquired was eGroups, which became Yahoo! Groups after the acquisition on 28 June 2000. Yahoo! also launched Yahoo! Messenger on 21 July 1999 (ASUS EEE PC900 battery) .
When acquiring companies, Yahoo! often changed the relevant terms of service. For example, they claimed intellectual property rights for content on their servers, unlike the companies they acquired. As a result, many of the acquisitions were controversial and unpopular with users of the existing services (Dell RM791 battery) .
Dot-com bubble (2000–2001)
Yahoo! stock doubled in price in the last month of 1999. On January 3, 2000, at the height of the Dot-com boom, Yahoo! stocks closed at an all-time high of $118.75 a share. Sixteen days later, shares in Yahoo! Japan became the first stocks in Japanese history to trade at over ¥100,000,000, reaching a price of ¥101.4 million ($94,780 at that time) (Sony VGP-BPS13 battery) .
On February 7, 2000, the Yahoo! domain was brought to a halt for a few hours as it was the victim of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS).
During the dot-com boom, the cable news station CNBC also reported that Yahoo! and eBay were discussing a 50/50 merger. Although the merger never materialized the two companies decided to form a marketing/advertising alliance six years later in 2006.
On June 26, 2000, Yahoo! and Google signed an agreement which retained Google as the default worldwide-web search engine for Yahoo! (sony vgp-bpl9 battery) .
Post dot-com bubble (2002–2010)
Yahoo! was one of the surviving large Internet companies after the dot-com bubble burst. Nevertheless, on September 26, 2001, Yahoo! stocks closed at a five-year low of $4.06 (split-adjusted).
Yahoo! formed partnerships with telecommunications and Internet providers to create content-rich broadband services to compete with AOL. On June 3, 2002, SBC and Yahoo! launched a national co-branded dial-up Internet access service. In July 2003, BT Group Openworld announced an alliance with Yahoo!. On August 23, 2005, Yahoo! and Verizon Communications launched an integrated DSL service (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery) .
In late 2002, Yahoo! began to bolster its search services by acquiring other search engines. In December 2002, Yahoo! acquired Inktomi Corporation. In February 2005, Yahoo! acquired Konfabulator and rebranded it Yahoo! Widgets, a desktop application and in July 2003, it acquired Overture Services, Inc. and its subsidiaries AltaVista and AlltheWeb. On February 18, 2004, Yahoo! dropped Google-powered results and returned to using its own technology to provide search results (Sony VGP-BPL15 battery) .
In 2004, in response to Google's release of Gmail, Yahoo! upgraded the storage of all free Yahoo! Mail accounts from 4 MB to 1 GB, and all Yahoo! Mail Plus accounts to 2 GB. On July 9, 2004, Yahoo! acquired e-mail provider Oddpost to add an Ajax interface to Yahoo! Mail. On October 13, 2005, Yahoo! and Microsoft announced that Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger would become interoperable. In 2007, Yahoo! took out the storage meters, thus allowing users unlimited storage (Dell Inspiron E1505 battery ) .
Yahoo! continued acquiring companies to expand its range of services, particularly Web 2.0 services. Yahoo! Launchcast became Yahoo! Music on February 9, 2005. On March 20, 2005, Yahoo! purchased photo sharing service Flickr. On March 29, 2005, the company launched its blogging and social networking service Yahoo! 360°. In June 2005, Yahoo! acquired blo.gs, a service based on RSS feed aggregation. Yahoo! then bought online social event calendar Upcoming.org on October 4, 2005. Yahoo! acquired social bookmark site del.icio.us on December 9, 2005, and then playlist sharing community Webjay on January 9, 2006 (Dell Latitude E6400 battery) .
On August 27, 2007, Yahoo! released a new version of Yahoo! Mail. It added Yahoo! Messenger integration. (which included Windows Live Messenger due to the networks' federation) and free text messages (not necessarily free to the receiver) to mobile phones in the U.S., Canada, India and the Philippines (HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery) .
On January 29, 2008, Yahoo! announced that the company was laying off 1,000 employees as the company had suffered severely in its inability to effectively compete with industry search leader Google. The cuts represented 7 percent of the company's workforce of 14,300. Employees are being invited to apply for an unknown number of new positions that are expected to open as the company expands areas that promise faster growth (Hp Pavilion dv3-1000 battery) .
In February 2008, Yahoo! acquired Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Maven Networks, a supplier of internet video players and video advertising tools, for approx. $160 million.
Yahoo! announced on November 17, 2008, that Yang would be stepping down as CEO.
On December 10, 2008, Yahoo! began laying off 1,520 employees around the world as the company managed its way through the global economic downturn (Dell Precision M70 Battery) .
Acquisition attempt by Microsoft
Microsoft and Yahoo! pursued merger discussions in 2005, 2006 and 2007, that were all ultimately unsuccessful. At the time, analysts were skeptical about the wisdom of a business combination.
On February 1, 2008, after its friendly takeover offer was rebuffed by Yahoo!, Microsoft made an unsolicited takeover bid to buy Yahoo! for US$44.6 billion in cash and stock (Dell Latitude E6400 battery) .
Days later, Yahoo! considered alternatives to the merger with Microsoft, including a merger with internet giant Google or a potential transaction with News Corp. However, on February 11, 2008, Yahoo! decided to reject Microsoft's offer as "substantially undervaluing" Yahoo!'s brand, audience, investments, and growth prospects. As of February 22, two Detroit based pension companies have sued Yahoo! and their board of directors for breaching their duty to shareholders by opposing Microsoft's takeover bid and pursuing "value destructive" third-party deals (Acer Aspire One battery) .
In early March, Google CEO Eric Schmidt went on record saying that he was concerned that a potential MICROSOFT-Yahoo! merger might hurt the Internet by compromising its openness. The value of Microsoft's cash and stock offer declined with Microsoft's stock price, falling to $42.2 billion by April 4. On April 5, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent a letter to Yahoo!'s board of directors stating that if within three weeks they had not accepted the deal, Microsoft would approach shareholders directly in hopes of electing a new board and moving forward with merger talks; this is known as a hostile takeover (SONY VGP-BPS8 battery) .
In response, Yahoo! stated on April 7 that they were not against a merger, but that they wanted a better offer. In addition, they stated that Microsoft's "aggressive" approach was worsening their relationship and the chances of a "friendly" merger. Later the same day, Yahoo! stated that the original $45 billion offer was not acceptable. Following this, there has been considerable discussion of having Time Warner's AOL and Yahoo! merge, instead of the originally proposed Microsoft deal (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery) .
On May 3, 2008, Microsoft withdrew the offer. During a meeting between Ballmer and Yang, Microsoft had offered to raise its offer by $5 billion to $33 per share, while Yahoo! demanded $37. One of Ballmer's lieutenants suggested that Yang would implement a poison pill to make the takeover as difficult as possible, saying "They are going to burn the furniture if we go hostile. They are going to destroy the place (Sony VGN-FZ460E battery) ."
Analysts said that Yahoo!'s shares, which closed at $28.67 on May 2, were likely to drop below $25 and perhaps as low as $20 on May 5, which would put significant pressure on Yang to engineer a turnaround of the company. Some suggested that institutional investors would file lawsuits against Yahoo!'s board of directors for not acting in shareholder interest by refusing Microsoft's offer (Hp 520 battery) .
On May 5, 2008, following Microsoft's withdrawal Yahoo!'s stock plunged some 15% lower to $23.02 in Monday trading and trimmed about $6 billion off of its market capitalization.
On June 12, 2008, Yahoo announced that it had ended all talks with Microsoft about purchasing either part of the business (the search advertising business) or all of the company. Talks had taken place the previous weekend (June 8), during which Microsoft allegedly told Yahoo that it was no longer interested in a purchase of the entire company at the price offered earlier -- $33/share. Also on June 12, Yahoo announced a non-exclusive search advertising alliance with Google (Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery) .
Upon this announcement, many executives and senior employees announced their plans to leave the company as it appears that they lost confidence in Yahoo's strategies. According to market analysts, these pending departures impacted Wall Street's perception of the company.
On July 7, 2008, Microsoft said it would reconsider proposing another bid for Yahoo if the company's nine directors were ousted at the annual meeting scheduled to be held on August 1, 2008. Microsoft believes it would be able to better negotiate with a new board (Toshiba Satellite Pro M15 Battery) .
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, calling the current board irrational in its approach to talks with Microsoft, launched a proxy fight to replace Yahoo's board. On July 21, 2008 Yahoo settled with Carl Icahn, agreeing to appoint him and two allies to an expanded board.
On November 20, 2008, almost 10 months after Microsoft's initial offer of $33 per share, Yahoo's stock (YHOO) dropped to a 52-week low, trading at only $8.94 per share.
On November 30, 2008, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo's Search business for $20 billion (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ18M battery) .
On July 29, 2009, it was announced with a 10 year deal that Microsoft will have full access to Yahoo search engine to be used in Microsoft future projects for its search engine Bing. Under the deal, Microsoft was not required to pay any cash up front to Yahoo. The day after the deal was announced, Yahoo's share price declined more than 10% to $15.14, about 60% lower than Microsoft's takeover bid a year earlier (Dell INSPIRON 1525 battery) .
Change in direction under Carol Bartz
Yahoo! has tried to change its direction since chief executive Carol Bartz replaced co-founder Jerry Yang in January 2009.
In July, Microsoft and Yahoo! agreed to a deal that will see Yahoo!'s websites use both Microsoft's search technology and search advertising.Yahoo! in turn will become the sales team for banner advertising for both companies. While Microsoft will provide algorithmic search results, Yahoo! will control the presentation and personalization of results for searches on its pages (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31z Battery) .
On July 21, 2009, Yahoo! launched a new version of its front page, called Metro. The new page allows users to customize it through the prominent "My Favorites" panel on the left side and integrate third-party web services and launch them within one page. Such applications include pages of Netflix, E-trade, Facebook, and other sites (Dell Studio 1555 Battery) .
On October 28, 2009 Ms. Bartz told PCWorld that she struggled with the question of what Yahoo is when she took over as CEO in January of 2009. After talking to many users in about 10 countries, she said, Yahoo! concluded that users consider it their "home on the Internet".
Products and services
Main article: List of Yahoo!-owned sites and services
Yahoo! operates the web portal http://www.yahoo.com which provides content including the latest news, entertainment, and sports information. The portal also gives users access to other Yahoo! services like Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Maps, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Groups and Yahoo! Messenger. The majority of the product offerings are available globally in more than 20 languages (Dell Vostro 1720 Battery) .
Storing personal information and tracking usage
Working with comScore, The New York Times found that Yahoo! is able to collect far more data about Web users than its competitors from its Web sites and its advertising network. By one measure, on average Yahoo! had the potential in December 2007 to build a profile of 2,500 records per month about each of its visitors (Dell Vostro 1500 Battery) .
As of May 22, 2008, An article in computer world states that Yahoo has a 2-petabyte, specially built data warehouse, which it uses to analyze the behavior of its half-billion Web visitors per month, processing 24 billion events a day. Yahoo Claimed it is expected to grow in multiples of 10 petabytes by 2009 and that this database is the largest in the world. In contrast the internal revenue services database of all taxpayers weighs in at only 150 TB (Dell Latitude D830 Battery) .
As of December 18, 2008, Yahoo! retains search requests for a period of 13 months. However, In response to European Regulators Yahoo scrambles the last eight digits of a users IP address after three months, rendering them partially anonymous.
Yahoo! provides internet communication services such as Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Mail, the largest e-mail service in the world. In March 2007, Yahoo! announced that their e-mail service would offer unlimited storage beginning May 2007.
Yahoo! also offers social networking services and user-generated content in products such as My Web, Yahoo! Personals, Yahoo! 360°, Delicious, Flickr and Yahoo! Buzz (Dell XPS M1530 battery) .
Yahoo! Photos was shut down on September 20, 2007, in favor of Flickr. On October 16, 2007, Yahoo! announced that they would no longer provide support or perform bug fixes on Yahoo! 360° as they intended to abandon it in early 2008 in favor of a "universal profile" that will be similar to their Mash experimental system (Toshiba Tecra M10 Battery) .
Yahoo! partners with numerous content providers in products such as Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Music, Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Answers and Yahoo! Games to provide media content and news. Yahoo! also provides a personalization service, My Yahoo!, which enables users to combine their favorite Yahoo! features, content feeds and information onto a single page (Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery) .
On March 31, 2008, Yahoo! launched Shine, a site tailored for women seeking online information and advice between the ages of 25 and 54.
Co-branded Internet services
Yahoo! has developed partnerships with different broadband providers such as AT&T (via BellSouth & SBC), Verizon Communications, Rogers Communications and British Telecom, offering a range of free and premium Yahoo! content and services to subscribers (Toshiba NB100 Battery) .
Yahoo! Mobile offers services for on-the-go messaging, such as email, instant messaging and mobile blogging; information services, search and alerts; entertainment, ring tones, and Yahoo! Photos for camera phones.
Yahoo! also introduced its Internet search system, called oneSearch, developed for mobile phones on March 20, 2007. The company's officials stated that in distinction from ordinary Web searches, Yahoo!'s new service presents a list of actual information, which may include: news headlines, images from Yahoo!'s Flickr photos site, business listings, local weather and links to other sites (Toshiba Satellite 1900 Battery) .
Instead of showing only, for example, popular movies or some critical reviews, oneSearch lists local theaters that at the moment are playing a certain movie, user ratings and news headlines regarding the movie. A zip code or city name is required for Yahoo! oneSearch to start delivering local search results (HP Pavilion DV5 Battery) .
The results of a Web search are listed on a single page and are prioritized into categories. The list of results is based on calculations that Yahoo! computers make on certain information the user is seeking.
Yahoo! uses Novarra's mobile content transcoding service for the oneSearch platform (Toshiba Satellite P15 Battery) .
Yahoo! offers commerce services such as Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Autos, Yahoo! Real Estate and Yahoo! Travel, which enables users to gather relevant information and make commercial transactions and purchases online. In addition, Yahoo! offers an e-commerce platform called Yahoo! Merchant Solutions (also known as Yahoo! Store) and hosts more Top 500 internet retailers than any other hosted e-commerce solution. Yahoo! Auctions were discontinued in 2007 except for Asia (Ibm ThinkPad X41 Tablet battery) .
The Small Business homepage as of August 2010
Yahoo! provides services such as Yahoo! Domains, Yahoo! Web Hosting, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, Yahoo! Business Email and Yahoo! Store to small business owners and professionals allowing them to build their own online stores using Yahoo!'s tools.
Yahoo! also offers HotJobs to help recruiters find the talent they seek (Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery) .
Yahoo! Search Marketing provides services such as Sponsored Search, Local Advertising, and Product/Travel/Directory Submit that let different businesses advertise their products and services on the Yahoo! network. Yahoo! Publisher Network is an advertising tool for online publishers to place advertisements relevant to their content to monetize their websites (Toshiba NB205 Battery) .
Yahoo! launched its new Internet advertisement sales system on February 5, 2007, called Panama. It allows advertisers to bid for search terms based on their popularity to display their ads on search results pages. The system takes bids, ad quality, click-through rates and other factors into consideration in determining how ads are ranked on search results pages. Through Panama, Yahoo! aims to provide more relevant search results to users, a better overall experience, as well as increase monetization—to earn more from the ads it shows (Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery) .
On April 7, 2008, Yahoo! announced APT from Yahoo!, which was originally called AMP! from Yahoo!, an online advertising management platform. The platform seeks to simplify advertising sales by unifying buyer and seller markets. The service was launched in September 2008 (HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery) .