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Yahoo's Billion-Dollar Blunders with Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix

Discover how Yahoo's series of missed opportunities, including Google, Facebook, and Netflix, led to its eventual downfall and sale to Verizon.

Yahoo's Billion-Dollar Blunders with Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix

Tuesday May 09, 2023 , 3 min Read

From its inception in 1994, Yahoo was once an internet titan with a staggering peak valuation of $125 billion during the dotcom boom. It offered a variety of services, including search, email, and news, that attracted millions of users worldwide. However, as the years went by, Yahoo's fortune took a turn for the worse, and it was eventually sold to Verizon for a mere $4.8 billion in 2016. A series of missed opportunities and poor decisions contributed to Yahoo's downfall, and in this article, we will take a closer look at five of the most significant blunders the company made.

The Google Saga: Passing on a Billion-Dollar Opportunity

In 1998, Yahoo had the chance to acquire the then-up-and-coming search engine, Google, for just $1 million. However, Yahoo decided against the acquisition, dismissing the potential of the search engine. Fast forward to 2002, Google offered itself to Yahoo once again, this time for $5 billion. Despite the higher price tag, Yahoo still had the opportunity to dominate the search engine market. Unfortunately, Yahoo lowballed the offer at $3 billion, which Google declined. Google is now worth over $1 trillion, making it one of the most valuable companies globally.

The Facebook Fiasco: A Matter of $100 Million

In 2006, Yahoo attempted to acquire Facebook for $1 billion. At that time, Facebook was a rapidly growing social media platform but nowhere near its current valuation. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, turned down the offer. Rumour has it that if Yahoo had increased its bid to $1.1 billion, Facebook's board may have pushed for the sale. However, Yahoo was unwilling to budge, and the deal fell through. Today, Facebook's market cap is well over $900 billion.

The Microsoft Misstep: Turning Down a $46 Billion Offer

In 2008, Microsoft saw potential in Yahoo and made a generous offer to acquire the company for $46 billion. Yahoo, however, believed it was worth more and rejected the offer. This decision would prove to be a significant error, as Yahoo's valuation continued to decline in the following years, culminating in its eventual sale to Verizon for just $4.8 billion in 2016.

The Tumblr and Netflix Dilemma: A Costly Mistake

In 2013, Yahoo had the option to purchase Netflix for $4 billion. Instead, the company decided to acquire the social media platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Unfortunately, this investment did not pay off, as Yahoo wrote down Tumblr's value to $230 million in 2016. Meanwhile, Netflix's current market cap exceeds $140 billion, making it one of the most successful streaming services globally. Had Yahoo chosen to invest in Netflix, its fortunes might have been very different.

Yahoo's story serves as a cautionary tale for businesses everywhere. Its series of missed opportunities and poor decisions ultimately led to its downfall. By failing to recognise the potential of companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Netflix, Yahoo lost the chance to maintain its status as an internet giant. As the landscape of technology and the internet continues to evolve, businesses must learn from Yahoo's mistakes and seize opportunities to stay ahead in an ever-changing and competitive market.