Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States. The company is perhaps best known for its web portal, search engine (Yahoo! Search), Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping, video sharing, fantasy sports and social media website and services. It started a great company quickly scaling to huge proportions. Sometime back, for many of us, Yahoo was synonymous to the Internet.
Late 90s to early 2000s, Yahoo dominated the Internet. Mid 2000s onwards things started changing and Yahoo slowly lost its share of users. Today for mail, we use Gmail. If we need to chat, we use Skype, G Talk and Facebook. And now, if we want to search we Google it.
Yahoo also realized this fact and starting taking up many strategies to compete in the market. One such strategy was to sue the companies who infringe their patent rights. Earlier Yahoo sued Google before its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2004 and earned 2.7 million shares of stock. Now it is expecting similar thing from Facebook. Yahoo! sued Facebook for infringing its 10 patents viz. U.S. Patent No. 6,907,566 (“566 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,100,111 (“111 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,373,599 (“599 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,668,861 (“861 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,269,590 (“590 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,599,935 (“935 patent”), U.S. Patent No.7, 454,509 (“509 patent”), U.S. Patent No.5, 983,227 (“227 patent”), U.S. Patent No.7, 747,468 (“468”) and U.S. Patent No.7, 406,501 (“501”).
The case is based on the Yahoo’s innovation on several fronts, including messaging; news feed generation, social commenting advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls, etc.Yahoo sued Facebook on the eve of its IPO. Facebook denied infringing Yahoo’s patents, and countered by alleging that it took license for the patents. If Yahoo holds the patent then justice be given in their favor. But just wining the case will not make big changes to the company’s status in the market. As we all know the situations are not in favor of Yahoo. Yahoo is facing strong competition from its rivalry companies like Google and Facebook. Moreover, the case will only damage the reputation of Yahoo and also will not benefit the company as such.
Yahoo has to build strong survival strategies to derive profit from the market. There are many key problems which have to be the priority for the company to resolve. For instance Gmail was launched in the year 2004 and was publicly available by 2007. It took Google just a couple of years to become a leader in the electronic mail segment. Gmail had a better user interface, was easy to use, offered a lot of space, had integrated chat option and a lot other features. Yahoo was slow in upgrading their popular services. Even their partnership and acquisitions were not successful as compared to their counterparts. Hence Yahoo should move on and either should end the Facebook lawsuit quickly or drop it. The key strategy to for any company to grow their business is to identify their potential and exploit the emerging trends in the market.