Thoughts on Yahoo!'s predicament.
As I wrote when Bartz' firing hit, "Here's the basic question any CEO has to answer; what is Yahoo! the best at? Not just what's best at Yahoo!, but best in the world at. If the answer's nothing, what do they have a reasonable chance at becoming best in the world at? If nothing, they're basically in a death spiral." Implicit in that was that whatever it was bring in substantial revenue.
But when's the last time you were excited about something coming out of Yahoo!? I honestly can't recall myself.
There's now some talk of Yahoo! putting itself up for sale. Honestly, I can't think who'd be a reasonable match for them, because, ironically enough, they have the problem of being too big with too many things going on.
Offhand, I can think of 5 companies that might consider buying them. In rough order of perceived likelihood, Microsoft, Oracle, AOL, HP, and Facebook. Google won't even bother thinking about it; in addition to it being a horrible idea (especially since they've already got a 20K company to merge into a quirky culture), the Feds would never left them do it.
Microsoft's probably the leader to get search if Yahoo! gets broken up; after all, they're doing it already. And given Ballmer's apparent "must beat Google at their own game" obsession, it's a possibility. I don't see it as doing anything more than bringing Microsoft and Yahoo! web/online innovation/development to a screeching halt for a year or so though.
Oracle, well, because they seem to be willing to buy just about any software company and have the numbers, both financially and headcount, to be able to pull it off. And they don't really have anything in Yahoo's space to my knowledge.
AOL + Yahoo! equals two failures hoping to get one success out of the combination. I don't think it makes any sense, but someone might try slamming them together via a private equity joint buyout.
HP, just because I don't think they have any idea what they want at the moment. Had Cisco not apparently learned to stick to their core area, I'd've listed them here with HP under "No real reason for them to buy Yahoo!, but a whim might hit the right people and cause them to buy it and suffer the hangover, er, buyer's remorse".
One could actually make a case for Facebook buying Yahoo! in order to fill out their arsenal against Google. However, I think it'd be a horrible mistake in that Facebook just isn't big enough. Oh, they could afford to buy Yahoo!, but Yahoo! has 10+x the headcount and a vast number of projects. Even if you plan to put Yahoo! on a plan to strip it down to a core set, it'd take way too high a percentage of Facebook's executives and upper management to implement it.
Oh, and one other possibility. Apple. But why? Yahoo! doesn't fill any obvious holes or needs in what they're doing, and they don't need the hassle of trying to revive what's there.
I suppose the most likely option would be a private equity buyout and an attempt after to suck up as much revenue as possible before it completely becomes a death spiral of declining revenue/eyeballs. Otherwise, despite they're still being a profitable company, I don't see Yahoo! as contributing enough to any major company to be worth the significant cost of integrating Yahoo! into them.