“If running a big company isn’t easy, than make it smaller,” he intones. What should Yahoo! focus on? “What they believe in.” Hmm… That’s not vague.
Wait a second — isn’t that what CEO Carol Bartz, Ya’s arch-nemesis, has been doing under the guise of streamlining since she took over?
Ma is subtly suggesting he wants Yahoo! to divest its 43% share of Chinese e-commerce network, which Yahoo! isn’t very interested in doing since Alibaba is a revenue driver.
There was a great deal of hubbub of late as Alibaba shifted its Alipay payment platform to Ma’s ownership without Yahoo!’s apparent knowledge. Ma discusses what happened in the video, suggesting a purely practical move was escalated into a scandal by a headline-hungry media — since Yahoo! tends to be the big tech media’s punching bag, that’s not a stretch.
The incident succeeded in making Bartz look bad, though Ma actually praises her in the video, suggesting that reviving Yahoo! is not a task for the faint of heart. Indeed, Yahoo! Executive Chairman, cofounder and ex-CEO Jerry Yang — who should get the most credit for turning Yahoo! into an inflated, directionless ball of gas — serves on Alibaba’s board and reportedly was informed about the Alipay move…. At the least, he should have been the first at Yahoo! to know.