After Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang gave his talk today I had a chance to interview co-founder David Filo, who had just come in for the end of the talk and was hanging around afterward. Like many Silicon Valley elites David was engaging and personal and answered several questions for me.
First was simply a confirmation that David’s plans are to ease out of some of his technology management roles at Yahoo while Jerry’s intention was to stay engaged into the foreseeable future as CEO. When Semel left Yahoo some industry watchers suggested Yang would not stay long, but those rumors appear to have been unfounded.
I asked David if he’d met with Bill Gates during CES. He said “I haven’t”, which leads me to my current working hypothesis which is a little wild, but that’s what blogging is for!
The hypothesis is that the Gates Keynote last night and the Yang talk this morning were not coincidental, but were the result of meetings – probably last night – between Gates, Yang, and perhaps former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel. I’ll certainly take David at his word that “he” did not meet with Gates. Semel was *in the audience* this morning but was not introduced.
I should note that when I pressed David to talk about a potential merger he suggested he feels Yahoo has a lot to do themselves before moving in that direction, but he also noted how the industry moves in fast and furious ways. He actually asked *me* what the advantage would be to that. I’ve written about that before here at the blog but in short it’s that Yahoo+MSN would be able to fight Google in ways neither appears to be able to do alone.
So I’m not predicting a merger/buyout but I sure wouldn’t rule it out, and I’m guessing there are informal talks going on – probably here at CES.
Disclaimer: I’ve got some Yahoo Stock. Not that it’s making me any money mind you, but I’ve got some.