Jerry Yang, the early, heroic campus entrepreneur who founded Yahoo in 1994, has hit some very rough times that seem to be reaching a bottom? Of course, the end is always sad. Read the tale from the Economist:
The man whose big and lovable smile had once greeted millions of newcomers to the internet with “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” soon found himself testifying before Congress, with a grieving Chinese mother sitting behind him, about exactly what information Yahoo! had shared that had led to the jailing of two dissidents in China. Back at the office, Mr Yang had to deal with warring fiefs and bitter personal rivalries. Executives kept leaving, engineers were demoralised and innovative projects were put on hold.
Then, in February this year, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo! for $33 a share. This could have put Mr Yang out of his misery. Microsoft, which owns a portal similar to Yahoo!’s and a search engine even further behind Google’s, wanted to combine forces to put up a better fight. Mr Yang said no. Several big shareholders revolted, but Mr Yang insisted that the price was too low. In the end, Microsoft gave up in frustration. “A lot of people have replayed that in their minds; I’m no exception,” Mr Yang said ruefully at the conference. With Yahoo!’s share price now at $12, he is eager to prove that he negotiated in good faith.