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Yahoo: Can this tech company be saved?
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Does anyone care about Yahoo anymore? Sure, Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) still has a boatload (to use a favorite term of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz) of users. I still go to Yahoo Finance a lot, for example. Ditto for Yahoo Mail. And I do love Yahoo's fantasy sports sites.

this isn't 1998 anymore. Being a portal doesn't make you a leader. Having eyeballs doesn't necessarily make you a financial or technological juggernaut.

While rivals like Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), Facebook and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) continue to innovate in the worlds of search, social media and mobile, many wonder just what Yahoo is other than a slightly bigger version of AOL.

And heck, even AOL (AOL), which may get a slightly worse rap than warranted due to its former role as an albatross around the neck of my corporate parent company Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500), has done a decent job of differentiating itself from the competition lately thanks to a keen focus on local content.

So it's no wonder that Yahoo's stock continues to slump. The stock is down 18% this year and is only 7% above its 52-week low.

A post I noticed on StockTwits about Yahoo sums up the company's sorry state the best. "The only worse thing than being talked about is not being talked about. $YHOO," tweeted Eric Jackson, managing member at Naples, Fla.-based hedge fund Ironfire Capital on Wednesday evening.

This is a pretty damning comment from someone who has followed the company very closely. Ironfire owned a position in Yahoo a few years ago and began pushing the company to get rid of former CEO Terry Semel in late 2006. That wound up happening in June 2007.

Jackson also wanted the company to accept Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) takeover offer in February 2008. But Yahoo spurned the deal, even though it valued Yahoo at a 61.6% premium at the time. So Ironfire sold its position a few months later.

I caught up with Jackson on the phone Thursday to get more of his thoughts about what the company could do to reclaim its former glory.

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Jackson said that the biggest problem is that there doesn't seem to be a focus on any specific type of product or area of technology.

"It struck me the other day how little we've heard about Yahoo in the past six to 12 months," he said. "That symbolizes how the company is not as relevant with where the world is moving, especially with respect to mobile and social media. The company seems to be adrift."

Yahoo, to its credit, has done a lot since Bartz joined in January 2009 to become leaner and meaner in order to get profits back on track. The company's net income increased by 40% last year even though revenues slipped.

Source CNN Money
 





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