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Altaba Inc.

legal form Corporation
ISIN US0213461017
founding 1994
Seat New York City , United States
management Thomas J. McInerney ( CEO )
Eric Brandt (Chairman)
Branch Holdings

Logo of the Internet portal Yahoo, now part of Verizon Media
Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale
The new logo and name following the merger of the Yahoo!  and AOL
Short-term logo and name following merger of the Yahoo! and AOL

The Altaba Inc. is a US-based investment company , among other things, shares in Alibaba and Yahoo! Japan holds. The company was founded as an Internet company by David Filo and Jerry Yang in January 1994 under the name Yahoo ([ 'jaːhuː ], German pronunciation: [ jaː'huː ]).

In 1996, Yahoo went public with 46 employees . In 2009, a total of around 13,500 people worked for Yahoo.

The web portal Yahoo has been a member of the Verizon group of companies since 2016 , where Yahoo became part of "Oath" in 2017 (since 2019: Verizon Media ). Yahoo Inc. renamed itself Altaba Inc. after the sale of its portal business and focused on its two main holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo! Japan . In September 2018, the company sold its shares in Yahoo! Japan to the Japanese technology group Softbank. In June 2019, the company decided to sell its Alibaba shares and liquidate it, which was finalized on January 21, 2020.

Company history

Old logo (until 2013)
Logo until 2019

In 1994, Yahoo founders David Filo and Jerry Yang - at the time doctoral students in the electronics department at Stanford University  - were working on a navigation aid for the Internet. The list of Internet pages in the web catalog grew rapidly at that time, whereupon the founders arranged the content according to categories. This resulted in a commented bookmark collection. The website started under the name "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web". As early as autumn 1994, 100,000 users took advantage of this offer. In 1995 the company Yahoo was officially founded and converted into a public company, in 1996 the company went public. Yahoo Germany was founded on January 28, 1996, and the German-language portal page was published on October 10, 1996. Yahoo Deutschland GmbH was formed in November 1996 as a joint venture with Softbank ( Ziff Davis ). Yahoo later opened up other markets with portals in Japan , Great Britain , France (1996), Singapore , Australia , Korea , Denmark , Norway , Sweden (1997 each), Italy , Spain (1998 each), People's Republic of China (1999), Argentina , India and Canada (2000 each).

Yahoo benefited greatly from the boom in the new medium. With increasing advertising income from online advertising , the share price rose to record levels. With the collapse of the dot-com bubble , advertising income fell massively in 2000/2001. The new boss Terry Semel changed the business strategy . Up until now, Yahoo offered services such as email accounts and organizers free of charge in order to maintain a large number of customer contacts; the more customer contacts, the more expensive it was to sell advertising banners to the customer . This strategy made it necessary to offer the user all the services he “needs” from a single source.

Yahoo expanded its product range and now also offered paid services. For this purpose, Yahoo acquired the job exchange HotJobs and in March 2005 the photo site Flickr . In addition to a small offer of paid content, most sales continued to be generated with advertising.

Until after the turn of the millennium, Yahoo used data from Altavista, Inktomi and then from Google for its own search engine . In February 2004 the contracts with Google were terminated. Up until a search alliance agreed with Microsoft in February 2009 , Yahoo used its own search algorithms and indices. To make up ground against Google, Overture Services (later: Yahoo Search Marketing ), a specialist in online search and marketing , was taken over on October 7, 2003, and the search engine operator Inktomi on March 19, 2003.

In 2005, Yahoo bought the Chinese online portal operator for one billion US dollars . In 2012, Yahoo reduced its stake in Alibaba to 20%.

On April 30, 2007, Yahoo acquired advertising specialist Right Media for approximately $ 680 million. Shortly thereafter, the merger talks between Microsoft and Yahoo ended unsuccessfully. Nevertheless, Microsoft announced on February 1, 2008 that it would take over Yahoo for 44 billion US dollars. An offer has been made to the shareholders. Yahoo rejected the offer again and asked for around nine US dollars more per share. On May 4, 2008, Microsoft finally withdrew the offer. On June 18, 2007, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel resigned. Co-founder Jerry Yang took over his position. At the end of 2007, Yahoo acquired the global online advertising network BlueLithium for nearly 300 million US dollars.

On November 18, 2008, Jerry Yang stepped down as CEO of Yahoo. On January 14th, 2009 the software manager Carol Bartz took over the office.

In July 2009, Yahoo formed an alliance with Microsoft in the field of Internet search. Microsoft combined its own and Yahoo's search technologies. In February 2010, Yahoo partnered with the social network Twitter .

In August 2009, the acquisition of an Internet community in the Arab region, , followed .

The integration of Facebook content took place on June 8, 2010 . If you used both Yahoo and Facebook, you could connect your accounts.

On September 6, 2011, Yahoo separated from its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carol Bartz and appointed Chief Financial Officer Timothy Morse as CEO ad interim . Morse was replaced on January 9, 2012 by Scott Thompson as permanent CEO. In early 2012, co-founder Yang resigned from the board of directors and withdrew from the company.

On May 13, 2012, Scott Thompson resigned as CEO; he had given a degree on his résumé that he had never acquired. The previous head of global media business, Ross Levinsohn, became interim successor. At the same time, Chairman of the Board Roy Bostock resigned to expedite the change in leadership for the new board. He was replaced by Fred Amoroso . As of July 16, 2012, Marissa Mayer , a former vice president of Google, has been the CEO of Yahoo!

In June 2013, Yahoo took over the blog platform Tumblr  - Yahoo named the purchase price “around 990 million US dollars”. The startup should remain independent; Founder David Karp remained in charge. On October 17, 2013, Yahoo told the Washington Post that HTTPS would be the default encryption protocol from January 8, 2014.

At the beginning of 2014, Mayer presented plans for how Yahoo would make money with online content in the future. The focus is on digital magazines on smartphones and tablets , the first two sectors will be food and technology . Both should be aimed at normal users, not experts, and would adapt to them in terms of topic and language. Advertisements would not appear as banners, but in the flow of editorial contributions, but would be recognizable as advertising. Advertisement revenues on tumblr should also grow from 2014 onwards.

Since March 21, 2014, Yahoo has been concentrating the services previously provided by European branches such as B. Yahoo Deutschland GmbH, in Ireland.

In 2014, Yahoo announced that it would produce digital series for the video platform Yahoo Screen , which are to be financed through advertising. In addition to two comedy series by Paul Feig and Mike Tollin, the sixth season of Community should be released in 2015 , which previously had its home on NBC .

In late 2015, Yahoo decided to split up under pressure from some major shareholders. The stake in the Chinese trading platform Alibaba was retained, while the rest was transferred to a new company to be sold.

On January 5, 2016, Yahoo confirmed the shutdown of its video platform Yahoo Screen.

In July 2016, the acquisition by Verizon was announced. Yahoo was to be merged with the Internet subsidiary AOL in order to be able to compete with Google and Facebook in the field of online advertising. Verizon paid € 4.8 billion for this. The holdings in and Yahoo Japan were kept. After the sale to Verizon was completed, the remaining company was renamed Altaba .

On June 13, 2017, Yahoo! and Verizon's AOL officially merged to form the Oath umbrella brand .

In October 2019 it was announced that the web forum interface of the Yahoo Groups will be switched off from mid-December 2019. The groups are only continued as mailing lists. The files uploaded there will be deleted.

Origin of name

According to the English and German company website, the name of the Internet portal Yahoo is also an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle , but was given by the two company founders due to the meaning of the English adjective yahoo "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth" ("naughty, unadulterated, uncouth." “) - originally derived from the primitive human-like yahoos in Jonathan Swift's story Gulliver's Travels - chosen. The acronym was therefore invented to match the term, accordingly a backronym and a wrong acronym. Other sources, however, refer directly to Swift's novel for the origin of the name.

Financial data

Sales and profit development at Yahoo in million US dollars
year sales Net profit
or loss
1996 19.6 −4.2
1997 70.3 −25.4
1998 218.2 11.1
1999 557.5 60.8
2000 1005 101.8
2001 717.4 −92.8
2002 953.1 42.9
2003 1472 237.82
2004 3574 839.3
2005 5256 1333.4
2006 6425 750.9
2007 6969 660
2008 7209 424
2009 6460 598
2010 6325 1232
2011 4984 1049
2012 4987 3945
2013 4682 1366
2014 14989 7522
2015 4968 −4359
2016 5176 −214
  • The price on March 14, 2017 was € 43.57.
  • At the end of 2015, 939.1 million Yahoo shares were owned by 8,846 shareholders
  • The market capitalization at the end of 2015 was 29.1 billion euros.
  • Microsoft offered $ 31 per share in early 2008, but Yahoo turned it down.
  • The Yahoo share was in 1997 at 0.86 euros, the high it reached at the beginning of 2000 with 119.55 euros.
  • Company founder David Filo now holds six percent of the shares, his colleague Jerry Yang four percent.


More than 700 million people worldwide currently use Yahoo. Products and services in Germany include, for example, the Yahoo home page, Yahoo News, Yahoo Search, Flickr, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger. In the English-speaking world, Yahoo Sports has been available since December 8, 1997 , the latest news from the sports of golf, tennis, hockey, basketball, cycling, cricket, figure skating, rugby, swimming, mixed martial arts, horse racing, motor sports, as well as the leagues and Competitions NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, College Football, College basketball, NASCAR, World Cup, Arena Football, Boxing, CFL, IndyCar Series, Major League Soccer, College Baseball, NCAA, WNBA, Alpine Ski World Cup, Track and field, ABL , WUSA offers.

With Yahoo Mail, Yahoo has been offering its own freemail offering with unlimited storage space for years and is one of the market leaders among freemail providers with around 300 million users, including almost six million in Germany. A dedicated instant messenger called Yahoo Messenger has existed since 1998.

Some of Yahoo's services operate under their own brand names, such as:


In March 2002, more than 300 companies, including Yahoo, signed a "Public Declaration of Self-Discipline " from the Chinese state . In it, the undersigned companies undertake "not to produce, publish or disseminate any dangerous information that could endanger state security or social stability". Yahoo signed uncritically and without searching for a compromise and, unlike, for example, Google, does not mark censored results.

The company also appears to be giving data about its users to the Chinese authorities. Two incarcerated Chinese journalists filed a lawsuit against Yahoo because they believed that the information provided by Yahoo was the cause of the arrest and subsequent torture. The lawsuit has meanwhile been settled. In the case of journalist Shi Tao , who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, it was revealed that Yahoo had provided the Chinese authorities with the information required for the arrest. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders were indignant.

Reporters Without Borders sharply criticized Yahoo in 2006 for its alleged role in the arrest of four Chinese dissidents .

On June 2, 2006, the British journalists' union NUJ called on its 40,000 members to boycott Yahoo. The reason for the action of the National Union of Journalists, which also has members in Ireland, is, according to the NUJ, the cooperation of the group in China's censorship measures on the Internet.

In June 2007 the World Organization for Human Rights brought another lawsuit alleging that Yahoo had helped the Chinese government identify civil rights activists who were critical of the regime.

In October 2009, the ZDNet Government blog reported that Yahoo provided data on 200,000 Yahoo users to the government during the protests in Iran. This false report was corrected immediately.

In April 2011 it was announced that Yahoo would keep data on its search engine for 18 months.

In November 2011, the Dortmund agency, Gestaltmanufaktur, reported that Yahoo's terms and conditions for private customers might violate German law. From the point of view of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, the prerequisites for a warning are given, speaker Carola Elbrecht is quoted as saying. The stumbling block is a clause according to which the users of certain Yahoo services are to be “responsible” for “informing” their communication partners that the company evaluates the entire data exchange for advertising purposes, among other things. The data protection supervisory authority responsible for Yahoo shed light on the case.

On July 12, 2012, it was announced that crackers had succeeded in finding hundreds of thousands of usernames with their passwords , because the corresponding database was neither adequately secured nor adequately encrypted. The access data were published on the Internet.

Another data breach was announced on September 22, 2016, in which at least 500 million Yahoo user data was stolen in late 2014. In addition to names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays and passwords hashed with the secure bcrypt algorithm , the stolen data also includes the unencrypted security questions and their answers. Yahoo believes that “government sponsored actors” are behind the theft.

On December 14, 2016, Yahoo admitted that approximately one billion user data was stolen "by third parties" in August 2013. The data again includes names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays, passwords hashed with the insecure MD5 algorithm and, in some cases, unencrypted security questions and their answers. According to Yahoo, this theft is not related to the incident announced in September.

At the end of 2016, it was announced that Yahoo had been developing software ( back door ) since May 2015 - i.e. 2 years after the Snowden revelations (see below ) - with which US secret services can search emails for keywords in real time. This was in response to an FBI order and was not recorded in the company's transparency report. When their own uninitiated security department discovered the program, they initially assumed that it was a question of a break into the mail system. After boss Marissa Mayer had initiated security chief Alex Stamos into the project, he resigned and switched to Facebook . The software also had security gaps, so that not only authorized persons (i.e. US secret services) could access the data, but also potential attackers. Later it became known that the project not only emails, but the entire Yahoo network using a Linux - kernel module were searched.

In 2017, Yahoo announced the extent of a new attack method based on the 2014 hack . Attackers are said to have first carried out the hack in 2014 by forging user cookies and then accessed 32 million user accounts in 2015 and 2016, even without knowing the password. Yahoo suspects these attacks were carried out by the same government agency that carried out the attack in 2014.

The discovery of the hacks often led to class actions against Yahoo and a reduction in the purchase price in negotiations with AOL.

As of November 2017, Yahoo is listed in the Paradise Papers publications .

Yahoo and the 2013 NSA data tapping scandal

Yahoo “Transparency Report” 2013

In the summer of 2013, the whistleblower Edward Snowden announced that the National Security Agency (NSA) had approached e-mail providers to request large-scale communication data from customers. Like other providers, Yahoo has published transparency reports in the wake of the debate over this data protection scandal. This statistic can be seen in the adjacent graphic: In the first half of 2013, the US authorities obtained most of the data from Yahoo customers in the USA (12,444 inquiries), followed by Germany (4,295) and, at a greater distance, from Italy, Taiwan, France and Great Britain.

Further documents show that the British secret service GCHQ has monitored the Yahoo video chats for years as part of the “Optic Nerve” program.

Web links

Commons : Yahoo!  - Collection of images
 Wikinews: Yahoo!  - in the news

Individual evidence

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  2. Yahoo 'Flashing Lights' Commercial (1080p) on YouTube
  3. Renault Yahoo advertisement 2013 on YouTube
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