Tech Irony: Yahoo CEO Says Google Needs Help

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz on Google
Yahoo, oh Yahoo. Sometimes, you just make it too easy.

The company that's given us more punchlines than Kate Gosselin on a dance floor is back at it again. This time, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is dishing out advice to Google, saying she thinks the search giant -- you know, the one that's soared while Yahoo has floundered -- may be in trouble.

Rimshot, anyone?

Yahoo's Bartz on Google

Ms. Yahoo's remarks come to us by way of an interview with the BBC News published on Thursday. In the interview, Bartz says Google will have to "do a lot more than search" if it wants to stay in the game.

Per the BBC:

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz
"Google will have 'a problem' if it does not diversify its business, the head of Yahoo has told BBC News. ... Ms. Bartz made the comments when asked if Yahoo's sprawling network of sites and services had a defined brand image."

But wait -- it gets even better:

"'Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search,' said Ms. Bartz. 'It is only half our business; it's 99.9 percent of their business. They've got to find other things to do. Google has to grow a company the size of Yahoo every year to be interesting.'"

Yeah, Carol: Google ought to start acquiring some companies and developing new services. Because Android, Buzz, Voice, Chrome the browser, Chrome the OS, and the other 4.2 billion endeavors they've launched lately really aren't enough.

Maybe a branding campaign involving c!onfusingly pla!ced punctua!tion would help, too.

The Yahoo Business Saga

Yahoo Search
Now, to be fair, Yahoo has been slightly less of a joke since Bartz took the company over last January. Prior to that point, as you may remember, Yahoo was immersed in an exhausting but always amusing Ross-and-Rachel-like love story with Microsoft.

Walking through the whole saga would take a good hour of our time, but put simply, Yahoo repeatedly rejected acquisition offers by Microsoft because it felt they were too low. By the end of the ordeal, Yahoo's stock value was significantly lower than what Microsoft would have paid. A botched deal with Google and numerous public management squabbles provided a nice side show as well.

In a sad final twist, former CEO (and now appropriately titled "Chief Yahoo") Jerry Yang all but begged Microsoft to come back to his doorstep. Less than two weeks later, under continued pressure from stockholders, Yang stepped down.

Bartz was able to move beyond that blemish and strike up a search partnership with Microsoft this year. And recently, she's managed to show subtle signs of a slow recovery.

Her company, however, is still far from a model business. Even since finalizing the deal with Microsoft, Yahoo's market share has continued to slip. So Bartz giving advice to Google is kind of like Kirk Cameron coaching Brad Pitt on box office success. Or, you know, Steve Jobs preaching about the importance of open platforms.

Yahoo, oh Yahoo. What we do without y!ou?

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. He's on Facebook: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael

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