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Yahoo users have no need to panic

Sharon Gaudin | July 27, 2016
Some say Verizon acquisition could mean a rebirth instead of a death

For now, Yahoo remains an independent company through the close of the deal, which is expected in the first quarter of 2017. The company is expected to continue to support, and possibly even build out, its Mail, search and Tumblr platforms.

Verizon is hinting that users may not see any dramatic changes in the short term.

"Yahoo will be operating on its own as a separate company until the transaction receives regulatory and shareholder approval, with an anticipated closing in early 2017," Bob Varettoni, a Yahoo spokesperson, said in an email to Computerworld. "Until we are able to meet with and discuss plans with Yahoo management, we are not in a position to talk about operational specifics. However, I would point out that we emphasized in our announcement yesterday how much we value all aspects of Yahoo's core business."

Yahoo Mail, for instance, is generally considered to be a "sticky" service so Verizon would be unlikely to eliminate it. But it could see changes in time.

As for search, that could be a good arrow for Verizon to have in its quiver so the company may step up investment in that. Even with that, though, Yahoo Search probably couldn't take on Google -- but it should remain a player.

According to Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, there's nothing to worry about, at least for a good year and a half or more.

"The question is what comes next," he said. "I would think they would keep Yahoo as is for existing users for quite a while. I also think they will be thinking about ways to improve the Yahoo experience. Yahoo users can breath a sigh of relief."

For Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, the acquisition is still a sad moment in high-tech history.

"Yahoo was one of the few dot-com survivors," he said. "Some of us will [miss it], but it is far from the power it once was. The brand still has value and the property can still be recovered under the proper leadership."


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