Yahoo's open source guru walks out

Yahoo's open source guru walks out

Summary: While the company still insists it is transforming itself into an open and social platform from the inside out, there is now a serious question over who is executing the strategy. And over just what kind of company Yahoo sees itself as.

SHARE:

Jerome ZawodnyWill the last smart person to leave Yahoo please turn out the lights?

Back when Microsoft was ready to swallow Yahoo our own Matt Asay suggested it could be a great deal for open source, given Yahoo's extensive open source strategy.

Projects like Zimbra, Hadoop and the Yahoo User Interface Library were strategic and would have to be exploited if Microsoft were to make the deal pay, he wrote.

But now the man most closely linked to that strategy, Jeremy Zawodny, says he's outta here. Chief data officer Usama Fayyad and network head Jeff Weiner have also joined the exodus.

While the company still insists it is transforming itself into an open and social platform from the inside out, there is now a serious question over who is executing the strategy. And over just what kind of company Yahoo sees itself as.

It's clear that the "portal" strategy so beloved of Wall Street a decade ago was wrong. By concentrating on search, which is what counts, Google blew by Yahoo and never looked back.

Which leads to this advice for chief Yahoo Jerry Yang. Whatever your strategic thoughts, don't take them from us. Make the Internet better for us and we'll make the bottom line better for you.

Topics: CXO, Open Source, Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

12 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • "Rats fleeing a sinking ship?"

    I had to say it as you know fr0thy (and a few others) use that line everytime someone leaves MS, so I guess I can use it when someone leaves an open source based company.
    AllKnowingAllSeeing
    • ;-) (nt)

      .
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • You are quiet the last few days No_Ax

        ;-)
        fr0thy2
    • There is a vast difference

      In a ship that is sinking because it has been torpedoed, and a ship that is sinking because it is overloaded with too many rats who have become too big, fat, and greedy.

      It's easy to see why anyone who adores big, fat, greedy rats prefer the later ship, though.
      Ole Man
      • I prefer glossy, healthy, and happy rats...

        <snark>We shouldn't be insulting rats by comparing them to Yahoo employees...</snark>
        DanaBlankenhorn
        • You are right!

          <covering my face in shame>

          I hope the rats will forgive me for insulting them.
          Ole Man
    • Small vibrant interacting economies

      That's where open source is taking us, and everybody will win - rather than just the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. That was yesterday's sick old ways. Adjustment necessary.

      No big shareholder driven money machine can be truly Open Source, but they'd all like to align with it and pretend as much as they can that it was their own idea. ;-)
      fr0thy2
      • The overriding question

        I did not address the final fate of Yahoo, but the New York types think they should have sold.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/14/business/14nocera.html

        In fact they say Yahoo had no right not to sell, that the public shareholders own it and they have an absolute right to the best deal possible.

        Personally I think the Times always takes this stand because it's best for investment bankers.
        DanaBlankenhorn
        • Yahoo had no right not to sell

          That is an unavoidable fact. Not only does a citizen presently NOT have the right to defend their property, but neither does a corporation, UNLESS THEY ARE "THE" BORG.
          Ole Man
          • @Ole Man

            All we need to do is carry on with what we are doing. The vocal protectionist phase that our mouse wielding monkey friends are going through will not last much longer, as the new developments become reality. Their own ignorance will leave them with their pants down.

            The Borg cannot take the Internet away. The Borg cannot stop people working together and helping each other, in fact The Borg maybe doesn't even want to - it may see that it got a little over self-involved. That's down to the new media - the Internet - to reprogram everybody to think in a sensible way. "That's great, thanks. No, I really don't need any more."
            fr0thy2
        • Yup

          Small vibrant economies, not the otherwise ultimate conclusion which is something along the lines of 2 or 3 companies owning everything.

          There'll always be "size", as in Corps etc, because average Joe isn't really greedy enough to do much about that and anyway, many people just need "a job" given to them and then they're happy with their lot.

          My gut feeling is that we will see a media-ized "hippy revolution" over the next few years, but quietly in the background the development that takes place on the web/in the cloud will create the underpinning of the smaller economic systems that will enable the changes we (mostly) all want to see - everybody working together for the benefit of all, food for everybody, water for everybody. You own how many houses? What the heck for?

          All we need to do is get on with what we're doing and not listen to big boys.

          Should we be able to make money from money? Shouldn't we invent new things instead? Do you need more? Do you benefit other with it?

          Your last sentence I, predictably, completely agree with.
          fr0thy2
  • RE: Yahoo's open source guru walks out

    Why does nobody have a kind word for Yahoo?
    Down here in the South Pacific , I am not aware of the reasons for the passion shown about not selling out to MS.
    elderlybloke