Yahoo!, a website once famed for its search engine and email client, died Monday in Sunnyvale, California, following a long-term decline in popularity. At 21 years old, the death could be called tragic, and will likely be mourned by many.
Earlier this year, Yahoo! forecasted its own demise, admitting that it was battling malaise and “exploring additional strategic alternatives.” On Monday morning, Yahoo! began to field and explore these strategic alternatives, welcoming initial bids. Potential buyers had until April 18 to enter their bids — while there’s no official decision or announcement yet, Verizon is the current frontrunner for a buyout. Yahoo! has the option to pass on all the bids, but that seems improbable as the once-great web empire enters its twilight.
The Daily Mail, Time Inc., Microsoft, Verizon, and a few others have all submitted bids, but on Monday night, Verizon’s name floated to the top of the pack. The Wall Street Journal reports that the telecom company’s main competitors are private equity firms like Bain Capital. Reasonable estimates place Yahoo!’s worth right around $3 or $4 billion. Other forecasters claim that those estimates vastly undervalue the former champion of the internet, but these speculators may be ignoring Yahoo!’s recently exposed “financial meltdown.”
Yahoo, founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo, rose in 1994. Back then, Yahoo went by “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” a title thankfully abandoned a year later. Yahoo proved to be a prodigy: in just three years time, most internet surfers called Yahoo! their homepage. Lifelong friends included Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Search, and Yahoo! Games. Countless other subsites showed early promise of a fertile and budding relationship, but all likewise died slow and drawn-out deaths — and need not be mentioned. Later in its brief life, Yahoo enjoyed a temporary resurgence of its once-held esteem: in 2005, it acquired Flickr; in 2008, it rejected Microsoft’s $45 billion offer; in 2013, it acquired Tumblr.
Yahoo will be (for now) survived by its wayward main page and subsites, though it’s unclear how long those associates will remain with us. No memorial gathering is scheduled at the time of writing. Flowers and condolences may be sent to Yahoo.com.