Scott Kessler, equity analyst at Standard & Poor’s, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Yahoo can successfully pitch itself as the "non-Google" counterpoint to Google.
“The real opportunity for Yahoo right now, especially with Jerry Yang taking the helm, is the fact that Yahoo can paint itself as the anti-Google or the non-Google,” Kessler said Tuesday. “They’ve won deals recently with Viacom and Comcast. I think trying to appeal to folks that are scared of Google, that’s an opportunity for them going forward.”
On Monday, Yahoo named co-founder Jerry Yang to replace Terry Semel as chief executive officer. The move is generally seen as a bow to investor pressure as Yahoo has failed to keep pace with Google. Semel will become the board’s non-executive chairman. The company named Susan Decker, its former chief financial officer, as president. She will lead Yahoo’s advertising and media business operations.
“As much as people are talking about Jerry Yang and Sue Decker being new blood, they’ve both been with the company an entire decade,” Kessler said. “So, I don’t see a huge amount of change coming as a result of this move.”
Kessler said he’d like to see Yahoo become more aggressive in its acquisitions. He said Yahoo had to do something like Microsoft’s acquisition of Quantive or Google’s deal with DoubleClick.
Christa Quarles, Internet services and publishing analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners, said it would be a mistake for Yahoo to outsource its search capability to Google.
“Switching to Google as the search (provider) I think is potentially a very dangerous game,” Quarles said. “Yahoo would have to sign a license in perpetuity because after the three- or five-year deal, there wouldn’t really be a competitive market for search, advertising provisioning…I think that eventually, a partnership with Microsoft, though difficult from an execution standpoint, would make sense in terms of the competitive landscape.”