There's little question that Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) has some kinks to work out in terms of execution and business focus. Just like Chuck, I have been an avid Yahoo! user, relying on Yahoo! Finance in my research efforts and email to stay in contact with friends and colleagues. I've also noticed that ambitious upgrades to both platforms have left me wanting, particularly on a number of the stock charts I frequently download.

But unlike Chuck, I attribute it to nothing more than the bugs and kinks inherent in early versions of new technology. In fact, I see Yahoo! as more savvy than Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) when it comes to branching out into new online initiatives. I find Google's financial portal extremely pedestrian and un-user friendly, with a bunch of seemingly uncoordinated menu items and news sections. And I'm not keeping official score, but I find that Gmail crashes far more often than Yahoo! Mail: I regularly use email on both platforms. Finally, anyone keeping tabs on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Vista realizes how difficult it is to introduce a perfect version of new software and other programs. Even almighty Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has needed to improve on early versions of iPods and iPhones, both from a software and a hardware perspective.

Despite these seemingly "di-worse-ification" efforts, Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft remain key players in online search and advertising, which will only continue to grow worldwide. Sure, Google is the undisputed leader, as Yahoo! lost focus of its core business, and MSN Network remains a distant third. But Yahoo! has shaken up the management ranks to re-emphasize its core business, which boils down to millions of loyal users using its portals and search functions. Advertisers will always want to pay up to reach this large audience, and the fact that new technology is steadily being introduced means the competitive landscape is in constant flux -- a good thing if you're not the leader.

Yahoo! has plenty of work to do to make more money from a subscriber base that primarily uses its free functions, but the high margins at some of its peers show just how much potential remains. Online advertising is a growth industry, and it's hard to argue against Yahoo! at its current levels.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of Microsoft but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.