This post makes one huge assumption: I assume that Marissa Mayer does not want Yahoo to continue to suck.
If that assumption holds true, here’s two acquisitions Yahoo should make to become awesome, and a service that I use daily.
Just yesterday I pondered about Yahoo buying 500px, I awoke today thinking it is an even better idea than it was yesterday. The play here is simple: buy 500px and rebrand it as “the new Flickr”. Migrate the entire existing Flickr user base and instantly make them all happy.
Next get hard to work on a mobile app for iOS uploads and see about getting direct integration into iOS from Apple for iOS 7/8.
This is smart because 500px is a business already, not some free service that Yahoo would need to figure out how to monetize.
I doubt every Flickr user would be happy with this, but it’s a better option than the “dying the slow death” path that Flickr is currently on.
It would pain me to see DuckDuckGo bastardized with ads, but I think there is a smart play here. Yahoo buys DuckDuckGo and starts serving ads on it, and make it the default Yahoo search engine. Yahoo is already an option on most browsers and devices (like iOS) so the potential user base is there. Putting the Yahoo brand behind the DuckDuckGo power, might be a win-win for both.
Of course the awesome privacy features of DuckDuckGo may suffer, but I have a solution for that: charge users to keep DuckDuckGo as it is — if they want. Figure out how much each user is worth to you in ad dollars. Divide that in half, and charge that a year for “pro” DuckDuckGo users. I bet it comes out to less than $10/yr — cheap!
This is a better option than partnering with Google.
Who This Hurts
This is a play against Microsoft and Google. Yahoo would become a better search engine than Bing, and an excellent alternative to Google. Yahoo would also have (once again) the strongest photo offering for everyone from mom and dad, to pro level photographers. Both businesses would be easy to integrate, have a place in the company, and be able to immediately contribute to the bottom line.
Notice who this doesn’t come after: Apple. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? If Yahoo can show it is savvy, it would make itself a far more attractive partner to Apple than Google — and that could pay off in spades.