Zachary Karabell for The Daily Beast: Onetime Internet Darling Yahoo Now on a Deathwatch

January 5th, 2012

The Daily Beast
By, Zachary Karabell
January 5, 2011

The communications technologies of the past two decades are widely and rightly celebrated. The Internet, email, the proliferation of free or inexpensive software programs and apps that allow countless millions to access and organize their lives, and now the Androids and iPhones that are turning handheld devices into portable computers—all have captured attention, imagination, and sales.

But there is a twist, which is that the innovators and the creators of this ongoing revolution are often eclipsed, and fall with a speed that is as breathtaking as their rise. We laud Apple today, but no one understood better than the departed Steve Jobs just how ephemeral success can be in the digital age.

‘Twas less than 16 years ago when then-maverick Yahoo went public in a highly publicized IPO that exhilarated the business world in April 1996. Its competitors at the time were the now-forgotten Lycos and Excite, not to mention the gorilla of its day, AOL. At the time, Yahoo had a cool name, a quirky founder named Jerry Yang, and annual sales of less than $2 million. It was a darling of the early Internet age.

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