A new name has joined Facebook and Google at the top table of internet entrepreneurs – Oath.
The company has risen from the ashes of two former online colossus – Yahoo and AOL.
US technology giant Verizon has bought the two companies to merge them with dozens of smaller online companies snapped up in recent years.
What Verizon plans to do with Oath is unclear despite the best attempts of CEO Tim Armstrong to explain.
The fledgling internet brand is unlikely to challenge Facebook and Google, but the rest is unclear:
Avoiding confrontation with internet giants
“Our goal is not to directly compete with Google and Facebook. Our goal is to open up real relationships with consumers in differentiated ways, which will come in two different stages,” he said.
“Stage one is to take scale, assets, data and have a safe and trusted environment to drive the business. Stage two is to include the consumer in a disruptive way that builds a two way relationship with the brand.”
Basically, Yahoo is split in two – the internet business has gone into Oath while the real riches are in ‘management investment company’ Altaba.
Merging the internet brans gives Oath 2 billion users that the portal is looking to monetise.
Meanwhile, Altaba has taken over Yahoo’s stake in Chinese wholesale trader Alibaba valued at around $37 billion, and 2 million shares of Yahoo Japan valued at almost $8 billion. Other assets total around another $12 billion.
Armstrong did make clear that creating a new brand from Yahoo and AOL will likely see the names disappear.
2,100 jobs already lost
The branding will also involve a lot of scaling down of staff and assets as the company has a lot of excess computing capacity.
Armstrong has already revealed 15% of the work force will be laid off – which is around 2,100 jobs. Some of the jobs are at online news portal Huff Post, including journalist David Wood, who won the title’s only Pulitzer Prize in 2012 with a series about wounded veterans.
The rebranding of Yahoo marks the end of an era as the company was among the last of the internet old guard of search engines.
Over the years, Google’s climb to dominance has presided over the demise of Lycos, AltaVista, Excite, Dogpile. Ask Jeeves, Magellan, InfoSeek – and the only survivor still around, WebCrawler.