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Millard Fires Back About Yahoo

Lack of focus opened Yahoo to Microsoft's bid

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Wenda Harris Millard rejected Yahoo president Sue Decker’s offer to run international sales, and ran off to Martha Stewart where she seems to be enjoying herself.

When we first heard about Millard’s departure last June, and compared her bio with Yahoo’s dismissive statement, we figured more happened behind the scenes. Valleywag cheerfully detailed that in a recent post:

The short version: Millard called Sue Decker, Yahoo’s president, to turn down her offer of a job running international sales and let her know she was taking a top job at Martha Stewart instead. Decker reacted furiously, locking Millard out of her office and issuing a press release which made it sound like Millard had been fired. Now Millard is having the last laugh, as it’s Decker’s job which looks to be on the line.

What’s this, no confidence Microsoft would retain Decker? According to Silicon Alley Insider, distractions laid the groundwork for the Microsoft bid, and Decker would indeed rank as one of the distracted. Said Millard at a media summit:

It was absolutely inevitable and predictable. Yahoo lost sight of who they are and who their customers are. Yahoo’s perception is that their only competitor is Google. But 95 percent of their revenue comes from advertising — so their competitors are really the broadcast TV networks. They think they’re in the search game,when they should really be in the brand advertising game.

…It reduces choice for advertisers. There would be two Goliaths, down from three. Advertising is a business that is both art and science. The merger focuses unduly on science. With Google-Doubleclick, and Yahoo-Microsoft, it is as if the scientific community is taking over advertising. And advertising is not about science.

We think Steve Ballmer will take notes on Millard’s observations, as she’s demonstrated not just savvy and knowledge in her work, but impeccable timing. It sounds like he should invite her for lunch and a well-compensated chat about Yahoo from her perspective if and when the deal for Yahoo finally comes through for Microsoft.

Millard Fires Back About Yahoo
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