Steve Ballmer might as well take applications for Yahoo job

November 19, 2008

Able to use a computer? Check. High school diploma? Check. Work well with others? Check. Willing to strike a deal with Microsoft? Ummmm….

Indeed, in the hunt for the next top dog at Yahoo that last issue — whether the candidate can do a deal with Microsoft — may be the most pressing.

Since Yahoo’s announcement on Monday that Jerry Yang would step aside, the tech/media world has been abuzz with speculation about his replacement. Silicon Alley Insider is even running a terrific mock election — letting its readers vote among six candidates.

(News Corp’s Peter Chernin is one of them. Wouldn’t it be great if he got the job? It would let us spend some time chattering about what will happen over at Rupert Murdoch’s empire).

But as Anupreeta Das points out in the Reuters story, the only way Yahoo may be able to satisfy its investors is either a massive turnaround plan, which would be very difficult in this environment, or an M&A deal. And the best shot at a deal may be with Microsoft.

“Microsoft wants Yahoo’s search audience, the traffic, the clicks,” Needham & Co. analyst Mark May said. “They want to have as much as Google does. So it’s important for Microsoft to have a big presence in search and display.”

The upshot: Yahoo needs a CEO who is willing to negotiate. The trouble is that means it needs a CEO who would also be willing to possibly negotiate himself or herself right out of a job. Or go to work for Steve Ballmer. Hmmmm…

Keep an eye on:

  • Dan Abrams, the former general manager of MSNBC, is launching a media-strategy firm, Abrams Research, to help business executives navigate public-relations challenges (WSJ.com)
  • Procter & Gamble and Google are swapping some staffers — to help each other learn more about marketing (WSJ.com)
  • Time Inc is expected to cut more than 250 from the payroll as part of an overall cost-cutting plan (NY Post)

(Photo: Reuters)

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What does Yahoo need in a new CEO? They need someone who is a business and technology person. They also need someone with a strong background in mergers in case Yahoo’s board decides to sell.

The best executive I know with those skills is James Kennedy

Robert

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