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Where Will Yahoo Employees Fit at Microsoft?

Which Yahoos Will Become Microsofties?

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While the big deal in the Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo is the money and market share changing hands, there are plenty of Microsofties who are wondering which Yahoo employees will become their co-workers, their bosses, and their replacements.

While most of the Yahoo rank-and-file will be held onto until redundancies can be worked out, Valleywag is already speculating on the fate of Yahoo’s board of directors, who will all become important execs at Microsoft, or unemployed.

Valleywag reasons that Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo have so much Yahoo stock, and will subsequently have so much Microsoft stock, that there’s no way to get rid of them. Barring a hostile takeover, and Yang and Filo cashing out and leaving, both will be two big fishes in need of a place at Microsoft. Yang could wind up on Microsoft’s board, and the speculation goes that Filo could wind up a Microsoft Fellow.

Some other Yahoos, like President Sue Decker (who Valleywag partially blames Yahoo’s collapse on*) have no place at Microsoft, bringing no specific skills to the table, just another replaceable executive with too many ties to the old Yahoo. Expected to be retained are “geek” executives, those with obvious skills that bring something extra to Microsoft, like Usama Fayyad, Chief Data Officer; Qi Lu, Executive VP, Engineering Search; and possibly Jill Nash, Chief Communications Officer, the better to handle Microsoft’s PR in Silicon Valley and with the difficulties post-acquisition.


* – Is any of this really Decker’s fault? The analysis goes that Decker continued to amass power and promotions as Yahoo’s ship was sinking, focusing so much on career advancement that Decker’s only success at Yahoo was to push out other executives on her way to the top. Decker forced out some good people, forced out Semel without anyone to replace him, and forced out Yahoo’s U.S. sales chief in an embarrassing way, all of which hurt the company.

I’d hardly lay the blame for Yahoo’s fall on one person, and certainly not blame any one person not named Terry Semel. On the list of failures at Yahoo, Semel has to be first on that list, a list also including slow and delayed product development, Lloyd Braun and Yahoo’s disastrous courtship of Hollywood, missed acquisition opportunities (Google, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace), poor integration of acquisitions, and the failure to use the last six months to turn around the company.

photo of Sue Decker, Terry Semel and Dan Rosenweig by Iantzilla under CC license

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