Changes are afoot at Yahoo!
Yahoo! will reorganize into three different groups, addressing audiences, advertisers and publishers, and technology. Even though some executives will be reshuffled, COO Dan Rosenweig and media chief Lloyd Braun are leaving the company.
Braun's exit is bittersweet. He was let go at Disney's
Yahoo! now has four objectives and they sound great on paper, but execution will be another story.
- Expand customer-centric culture and capabilities? Organizing around audience segments over products is sound, but it's got to shake that vanilla tag first.
- Create leading social media environments? Technology isn't the problem. In its arsenal, Yahoo! has already acquired advanced sites like Flickr and del.icio.us. The problem is that despite leading the way, Flickr is still no Facebook, and del.icio.us is certainly no match for News Corp.'s
(NYSE:NWS)MySpace. Sure, it wouldn't necessarily want to be them, either, but it's the price you pay if you want to matter to the masses.
- Lead in next-generation advertising platforms? OK. I'm skeptical, though. A has-been in the current generation of advertising platforms isn't going to leapfrog the competition overnight.
- Drive organizational effectiveness and scale? Hiring top talent gets tricky when your stagnant stock makes stock-based compensation unattractive and a corporate shakeup rattles the morale of a staff fearing layoffs.
It's OK to applaud Yahoo! for making the bold move to reinvent itself. There was a lot of truth in that "Peanut Butter Manifesto" that was circulating earlier this year that accused the company of being too complacent and spread too thin to focus on the stuff that matters. However, despite the shuffles and notable defections, let's see what new blood is brought in to mix up the recipe. If it's still the same peanut butter and jelly being served up in different ways, in the end it's going to taste exactly the same.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a frequent Yahoo! visitor, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story -- other than a few shares of Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.