Yahoo!'s New York Yankees' StrategyEverybody has an analogy; we should compare analogies to ***holes, not opinions. And they're quite frequently farther away from the mark. Supporters of the deal parallel the Tumblr acquisition to Google's ( GOOG) successful purchase of YouTube. A few have even justified it by pointing to Microsoft's ( MSFT) buyout of Skype. Sounds great, but, ultimately, these are both flawed analogies.
YouTube and Skype both fit, more than logically, into successful existing platforms. Google did an excellent job integrating YouTube into its ecosystem and previewing the vision. It took Microsoft longer -- and they're still not there -- but they're moving in a more valid direction each day. You would think that one day, the world would associate Skype not only with Windows and Xbox, but with video calling broadly. (To an extent it already does: "Hey, let me Skype you!). Whether Steve Ballmer can execute or not is neither here nor there, but the fundamental vision makes sense.
Tumblr and Hulu both add to one of Yahoo!'s biggest problems: An incredible lack of focus. What in the world is Yahoo!? Does anybody really have any idea? Mayer has said she wants Yahoo! to become "a daily habit." While I like that sentiment, I did not construe it to mean everything to everyone. Mayer could spend a fraction of what she has spent and is willing to spend on a proper branding/marketing campaign and the poaching of individual top-notch talent the old-fashioned way and have more of an impact than she will have by adding more clutter to the pile at Yahoo! This company can barely manage and monetize what it has, how can it possibly welcome in more, not-so-small-and-simple moving parts? Even though it's more than a little bit funny to compare Yahoo! to Apple ( AAPL), there's a takeaway there. "Everybody" wants Apple to buy Twitter or Netflix ( NFLX) or something else absurd. Thus far, it hasn't. And I don't expect it to anytime soon, if ever. If Tim Cook does something like is, it will stink like desperation.
Whether you think it will work or not, Apple, very obviously, has a strategy. They have -- I hope -- a clear direction they're headed in. Other than vague statements about an exciting product pipeline on conference calls, Cook doesn't say much about it. He also has loads of cash, but no need to spend it on extravagances that fall on the fringes of what lies at Apple's heart. You can argue, logically, that Yahoo! has no heart, however, here again, that's the secondary analogy. It's not that Yahoo! lacks the tools to be successful. It has them in place. And just as New York Yankee and Pittsburgh Penguin-type strategies often fail (the latter remains to be seen), trying to be like Google at Yahoo! will end badly for Mayer at Yahoo! She'll go out in what the media -- in another 180 -- will label a blaze of incompetence. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.