IT WAS not so long ago—four years back—that a former Google executive, Marissa Mayer (pictured), arrived to run Yahoo, and its employees hung posters emblazoned with her face and the word “Hope” around the internet firm’s office, in a nod to those designed for Barack Obama’s 2008 run for president. Expectations were sky-high for the young and energetic Ms Mayer. But now time is up for the ailing firm. After its spiral of decline quickened under Ms Mayer, the board said in February that it would sell off its core internet business. On July 25th Verizon, a telecoms giant that is also America’s biggest mobile operator, agreed to pay $4.8 billion for Yahoo. The deal excludes several key assets, including its stakes in Yahoo Japan and in Alibaba, China’s dominant e-commerce firm. What went so horribly wrong for the former internet giant, and is Verizon wise to buy it?

Yahoo’s story encapsulates the internet’s own rise. It was in 1994 that David Filo and Jerry Yang, two students at Stanford University, created a page to assemble their favourite links. It became Yahoo, a directory of categorised links, which evolved into a “portal”...Continue reading