An Open Letter to Jerry Yang

From Joe Nocera, in the NYTimes

It’s completely understandable that you wouldn’t want the company you and David Filo founded 14 years ago to fall into the clutches of Microsoft. You both loathe and fear the Evil Empire, as you Silicon Valley types used to call Microsoft. You don’t want Yahoo swallowed up into the Microsoft bureaucracy. You hate the thought that Yahoo, which once was every bit as cool as Google is now, would lose its status as an independent company. Let’s face it: you and Mr. Filo still think of Yahoo as your baby.

Here’s the problem, Jerry. It’s not your baby. It hasn’t been since 1996, when Yahoo went public. At that moment, you suddenly had to answer to your new owners: your shareholders. In fact, Jerry, as a board member since Yahoo went public, it has always been your job to look out for Yahoo’s shareholders. But we sure wouldn’t know that from the way you’ve acted these past months. I haven’t seen this much contempt for shareholders since Robert Nardelli ran Home Depot…

He’s right. Much as I dislike Microsoft, it seems to me that Yang and the Board failed in their fiduciary duty.