Do You Apple?

By Lyons, Dan | Newsweek, May 28, 2012 | Go to article overview

Do You Apple?


Lyons, Dan, Newsweek


Byline: Dan Lyons

Learning from steve jobs is yahoo's only hope.

Yahoo is amazing. Every time you think they're as screwed up as an organization can be, they find a way to do even worse. The latest fiasco involved the firing of CEO Scott Thompson for fudging a degree on his resume. Thompson had been on the job for only four months and was the fifth CEO in five years. Amid all the turmoil, Yahoo's business has flatlined: last year's revenues were lower than in 2005, and the stock has been a dud since the dotcom bust.

What on earth could Yahoo do to save itself? For inspiration, its leaders might look to Apple, which, 15 years ago, was nearly dead. Today its market value is the highest in the world.What could Yahoo learn from Apple's turnaround?

* Get a strong leader. Apple had Steve Jobs, a cofounder who returned after a decade in exile. Yahoo's new boss is Ross Levinsohn, formerly the company's executive vice president. His title is "interim CEO." That won't cut it. Yahoo needs a permanent CEO, and probably not Levinsohn, a lightweight in Silicon Valley.

* Know why you're in business. The first thing Jobs did when he returned was to radically simplify Apple's product line, killing off everything but two laptops and two desktops. So what exactly is Yahoo? An Internet portal? …

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