Do you give a Yahoo?

A once-great tech company’s fall from favour is a prime example of creative destruction

The Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.   Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP
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Few industries exemplify Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of creative destruction quite like the tech industry. Once revolutionary and industry-dominating companies such as Xerox and AOL find themselves quickly pushed aside by competitors who find new and better methods of meeting customers’ needs. Silicon Valley is littered with once-household names that have fallen from favour with frightening speed.

One might ask if Yahoo! is likely to join this list. The company once epitomised the dot-com boom and was valued at $125 billion (Dh459bn) in 2000, but this week it announced the sale of its core businesses for $4.8bn. Is this just an accelerated version of the natural way of business? Like the UK government decision to phase out Latin-based abbreviations such as ie and eg, should we welcome the dawn of the new or mourn the loss of the old? How one responds might be predicted by whether they are early adopters. Those still using Hotmail accounts are presumably horrified.