Wharton on Yahoo!

Professors from the Wharton School of Business analyzed Yahoo!’s many business lines in a recent article featured in Knowledge@Wharton. While Microsoft and Google duke it out Yahoo! may remain friendly to both and emerge a winner.

Google is known for being good at search, and it is argued that while Yahoo! is certainly in a lot of different areas it is not a product leader. Most of the “Web 2.0” goodness mentioned in the article comes through acquisition of other small companies like Oddpost and Flickr that might be able to shake up a large media company.

I think Yahoo! has industry leading small business services for merchants at Yahoo! Shopping as well as the best podcast search and news search. Yahoo! will market its search brand as better searching through people, leveraging its My Web backend and its 360 aggregation hub that Google or Microsoft currently does not offer. Better searching through people relies on a lot of user generated content, but Yahoo! may have the hundreds of millions of registered users to make it work.

I am more interested in the creation of new ideas and new business directions within a company the size of Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft. Can giant companies cultivate innovative thinking or are they always stuck in maintenance mode with legacy code, process, and staff? I’m glad to see smart minds such as those at Wharton are taking notice and asking some tough questions.