That headline, of course, is a tribute to Yahoo’s CEO, Carol Bartz, who was entirely unimpressed with Michael Arrington’s line of questioning thus:
Arrington: Is your pitch kind of BS though?
Bartz: Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997 — the iPod came out 4 years later. 3 years after that is the first time his market cap grew. It took 7 years. I’ve been here a few months. Give me a break. You are involved in a very tiny company.
Arrington: Very tiny.
Bartz: It probably takes you a long time just to convince yourself what to do. “So f*** off!”
Arrington: Are you a search company or not?
Bartz: Half of our revenue is from search. The fact that you can crawl the web is a commodity. We’re about search, but we’re not a search company. We do a lot of things.
I have to say I’m reasonably impressed that Bartz has the balls to use naughty words. This is actually what Nokia needs, in some degree — Nokia needs a spokesperson who will stand up, bang the table and tell Michael Arrington to f*** off. Well, actually, what I’d like to see is Nokia defending their achievements. Their ridiculous Finnish subservient ‘rise-above-it’ management culture does a brilliant job of stymying the efforts of some of their most talented individuals. Still. The company’s in the middle of a turn-around whose strategy I broadly agree with. Faster, quicker, better. That’s what I’d like to see. With some balls. Some real balls.
Speaking of which, I think Bartz did a very good job of defending Yahoo in that exchange. My issue is that I don’t think the company has delivered anything meaningful for a long, long time. I just paid another $25 to Flickr for the MIR premium account. But is Flickr really Yahoo? The only thing I ‘feel’ is truly Yahoo is their email system, which, as I’ve written before, is utterly useless. I’ve stuck 280,000 emails into my premium Yahoo account and just breaks every time I try and search it. Almost like a metaphor for the company as a whole, perhaps.
In terms of both companies, I’m not impressed at their strategic alliance. Yeah I do like the user account federation. But Yahoo IM? Meh. Indeed, the whole alliance doesn’t turn me on at all. I could take it or leave it.
Now Facebook… that’s be an interesting move. Account federation with Facebook so that whenever you switch on your new Nokia phone, it asks for your Facebook ID, that I’d get out of bed for. Every new Nokia now powered by your Facebook Address Book? The merging of Ovi and Facebook into one giant synchronised service? Yeah. That would set the cat amongst the pigeons. That would get the planet’s mobile marketplace in a tizzy quickly.
But Yahoo? Tired. Tired and thrice tired.
I also really enjoyed this piece on the subject by TelecomTV’s Martyn Warwick (“Yahoo! CEO curses her way through announcement of strategic alliance with Nokia“).
[Editorial point: As much as I’d like to include the word ‘f***’ without the stars (and I have done a few times before) I understand that it causes a lot of shenanigans for those reading via corporate firewalls.]