Great article from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, covering Yahoo's strategy. Interesting comparisions to Microsoft and Google, plus lots of stats to pore over for the number crunchers amongst us. But what I enjoyed most was how Wharton wrapped up so many of the themes I and others have been blogging about for the past year.
The article suggests that Yahoo keeps its nose clean and stays out of trouble with its main competitors in the Internet space, Microsoft and Google:
"Yahoo's approach has allowed it to fly under the radar and still compete with multiple players across many Internet markets. As a result, Microsoft competes with Yahoo, but also partners with it."
Further, the article says, Yahoo is undervalued by the market and underestimated by Microsoft. I liked this quote from Wharton professor Kevin Werbach:
"Google is more threatening to Microsoft today because of the breadth of its ambition, but ultimately Yahoo represents a similar challenge in moving the center of gravity away from the desktop to the web."
On the risks to Yahoo's media strategy, the Wharton article says losing focus may be Yahoo's biggest risk. I don't totally agree, because I think Yahoo is very focused on being a read/write media platform for mainstream users - which requires a broad feature set. In terms of Web 2.0, they say Microsoft and Google are engaged in a "battle to control the APIs for future web development." Yahoo is just "an emerging player" in terms of APIs according to Wharton.
Where I really think this article nails it is in this description:
"While Yahoo seems to have its tentacles in dozens of markets, what may be emerging is a prototype for what a media company will look like in the future. For example, it might need to develop content, but also be well versed in software, services and commerce."
That reflects what Yahoo CEO Terry Semel outlined in the recent Web 2.0 Conference. This is an outstanding article and a 'must read' if you're as interested in Web-based media as I am. I've been a fan of Yahoo for the past couple of years precisely for the reasons outlined in the Wharton article. If Yahoo is indeed flying under the radar, it isn't my radar ;-)