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Yahoo Looks to the Cloud for Some Salvation
Yahoo Announced a Supposedly Pressure-relieving Reorganization Just Like the Press Said It Would

With the stock market crashing, or giving a good approximation of a crash Thursday, Yahoo, poor thing – well, it has behaved like a sick lost puppy, now hasn’t it – announced a supposedly pressure-relieving reorganization just like its familiars in the press said it would.

It is, as was widely observed, the company’s third or fourth attempt in the last 18 months or so – one loses count after a while – to rearrange the deck chairs and supposedly prove it can stay afloat with Microsoft out of the picture.

This time Yahoo president Sue Decker – widely credited with masterminding this particularly reorg – appears to have been looking over Google, Microsoft and Amazon’s shoulders because Yahoo is forming a Cloud Computing & Data Infrastructure Group that’s supposed to develop a “world-class” computing and storage infrastructure, “rewiring Yahoo onto common platforms” to create “a stronger partnership between product and engineering teams.”

Evidently it’s an internal charter but it’s assumed it will turn Amazon or Googlesque given time; it’s CTO Ari Balogh’s baby and it’s supposed to “balance scalability with cost-effectiveness.”

Naturally Yahoo maintains that its cloud will be newer and better than other clouds floating around.

As the announcement flamboyantly says, reiterating an old Yang quote, the reorganization is supposed to support Yahoo’s strategy to be “the starting point for the most users, the must-buy for the most advertisers and the platform of choice for developers” and “improve its products, technologies and execution.”

Whether Yahoo gets to see any of its dreams realized is another matter.

Microsoft is still lurking in the background and Microsoft – licking its rebuffed $47 billion takeover offer – is supposed to be working on another plan to detach Yahoo from its search operation.

Meanwhile corporate raider Carl Icahn, who wants nothing more than to sell all of Yahoo to Microsoft, is going for broke with his slate of nine handpicked replacements in attempt to unseat the whole of the Yahoo board, remove Jerry Yang from the CEO post and grind Yahoo’s Microsoft-tripping “poison pill” severance plan into dust come the stockholders meeting August 1.

Icahn filed preliminary proxy papers with the SEC Thursday that reiterate his call on Microsoft to buy the joint.

Anyway, Yahoo is creating three new divisions reporting to Decker that theoretically centralize the company’s Internet products, grow its audience and monetize web advertising as search and display advertising converge, according to Yang.

There will be an Audience Products Division that develops consumer products under Ash Patel, who previously managed the company’s Platforms & Infrastructure Group, its outreach to third-party developers. That gives Patel – reportedly an unpopular choice – search, mail, instant messaging, social networking and platforms.

Then there’s a US region to bring products to market faster led by Hilary Schneider, who used to head the company’s Global Partner Solutions Group. She gets content along with ad sales.

Then third there’s an Insights Strategy team in charge of centralizing and executing a common strategy for the use of data and analysis across Yahoo.

Characteristically perhaps, Yahoo has nobody running strategy; it says it will appoint somebody in the next few weeks. (Yahoo’s executive ranks are a lot thinner these days perhaps because of the reorganization.)

According to Decker, who sounds like she’s been living in Mason jar in somebody’s freezer, “We have planned these changes deliberately over the past several months to clarify responsibilities and to capitalize on the scale advantages while allowing for fine tuning to meet local market needs.”

Yahoo is moving all consumer-facing platform teams to an Audience Technology Group under Venkat Panchapakesan. It is also putting new leadership behind its search group, naming Prabhakar Raghavan to direct search strategy and making Tuoc Luong interim leader of the search product team.

Both Prabhakar and Tuoc are also supposed to keep running Yahoo research and search engineering respectively. David Ku will lead the Advertising Technology Group within Search.

Yahoo’s Marketing Products Division, Connected Life and Corporate Marketing groups will continue to operate as they have in the past, the company said.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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