From the perspective of the late 1990s, it seems almost unbelievable.
If I could go back in time and tell my younger self (or anyone from that time), that Verizon would buy Yahoo for just a few billion, I’d have laughed in future me’s face.
Back then, Yahoo was the preeminent technology darling: Microsoft was mistrusted, Steve Jobs was just getting Apple back on its feet, and Google was still a little baby.
If you wanted to talk about technology success, you talked about Yahoo. Heck, even in the 2000 time travel movie Frequency, the main character whispered “Yahoo” to his childhood friend so he would gain financial success in the future.
Well, times have really changed. Yahoo — or at least what most people think of Yahoo — is now part of Verizon, and really, it’s now part of AOL. That last part would have generated even bigger laughs back at the turn of the millennium.
Verizon has said it will become a key component of their content and media strategy. And I won’t be surprised if many parts of Yahoo do much better under Verizon stewardship. For example, I especially think that the news, media, and sticky applications will do well. I’m less bullish on core things like Yahoo Mail.
Like many people, I have a Yahoo Mail account. And I originally got it so I wouldn’t have to rely solely on the email my internet provider gave me as a personal account.
So what happens to this when the owner of Yahoo is one of the biggest internet providers out there? Will Yahoo Mail get rolled into Verizon or AOL’s mail accounts? Will it continue to be a standalone product? Could it even be expanded to compete with Google accounts?
All of these options seem possible to me. Only time will really tell what will happen.
But one thing is for sure: We’ve probably heard the last of the famous “Yaaahhooo!” commercial. That is, unless, one wants to go back in time.