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10 Dumbest Things on Wall Street in 2008

DUMBEST OF 2008 #6

Yahoo!'s New Search

By Gregg Greenberg, 11/07/08

It's time again for Yahoo! (YHOO) to search for salvation.

Google (GOOG) got sick of the antitrust battle and abandoned its planned advertising partnership, leaving Yahoo! in the lurch.

David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, wrote on a company blog that while disappointed the deal was dead, "we're not going to let the prospect of a lengthy legal battle distract us from our core mission. That would be like trying to drive down the road of innovation with the parking brake on."

No kidding. The whole idea of teaming up with Yahoo! was the least innovative idea ever to arise from a company that prides itself on doing things differently.

Maybe this was all some part of Google CEO Eric Schmidt's grand design to rid the company of a competitor?

As for Yahoo!, the company's prodigal CEO, Jerry Yang, returned, cap in hand, to Microsoft (MSFT) to bail him out. But in November, Yahoo!'s stock was trading at half the value it had earlier in the year when Microsoft was offering $33 a share.

Yang should have known his wild plan to escape Microsoft would never work out. All he had to do was Google "antitrust" and they would have seen the futility, let alone stupidity, of the whole plan.

Update 12/26: Yahoo! shares continued to slide through the month of November, falling below $9. On November 17th the WSJ reported Yang was stepping down. The stock has since risen by more than 40% to $13. The board obviously should have yanked Yang a long time ago.

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