Web 2.0 Summit, John Battelle interviewed Yahoo's CEO Jerry Yang and asked him about Microsoft's takeover bid, Google's decision to pull out of its advertising deal with Yahoo, and the persistent rumors of a possible acquisition of AOL by Yahoo. While Yang acknowledged Yahoo's current problems and stated that he would still consider selling the company to Microsoft, his overall outlook for the company was quite upbeat.Yahoo is obviously going through a rather tough period in its history right now. Last night, at TechWeb/O'Reilly's
Battelle quickly jumped to the topic that was surely on everybody's mind and asked Yang about the Microsoft deal. Yang acknowledged that he considered selling the company and that he thinks it would still be in Microsoft's best interest to buy Yahoo, but that Yahoo didn't think the price was right at the time and that Microsoft doesn't seem to be interested in a deal anymore. Yang also denied that his personality got in the way of the deal.
Google and AOL
About the Google advertising deal, Yang clearly expressed his frustration and disappointment with Google's decision and stressed that he thought that the deal could have been defended in front of the Department of Justice. Yang also used this opportunity to emphasize Yahoo's commitment to improving its search engine.
Yang declined to comment about a possible acquisition of AOL.
About Yahoo itself, Yang stressed that he thinks that Yahoo's planned shift towards becoming a platform company is going quite well so far. In a short discussion about the Yahoo Open Strategy, Yang also emphasized Yahoo's focus on opening up the Yahoo network as a platform and the importance of getting developers to start using it.
Overall, the reviews of Yang's performance were mixed. He surely doesn't have the personality of a Steve Jobs, and he isn't exactly Yahoo's greatest marketing asset. However, his overall analysis of Yahoo's current situation struck us as accurate.