Yahoo has acquired yet another tech startup, this time an app called Blink which is more or less a direct copycat of the more but not-for-sale Snapchat, making it the latest in a long string of acquisitions whose purpose isn’t yet apparent to anyone outside the company. Since taking over Yahoo two years ago, CEO Marissa Mayer has acquired one small tech firm after another, ranging from high profile acquisitions like Tumblr, to more obscure entities like today’s Blink acquisition. Yet in that time Yahoo has proceeded to do almost nothing with these new possessions. It’s enough to lead one to ask whether Mayer is auditioning for an episode of the television show Hoarders.
Despite the apparent lack of direction, it’s not yet fair to label any of the Yahoo acquisitions as mistakes or failures. By buying up revenue-producing entities and leaving them intact, Marissa Mayer is has essentially turned Yahoo into a holding company. Considering that all she started with was a recognizable but faded brand name and no viable products or revenue sources to go with it, her strategy of rounding up some fresh new entities under the Yahoo umbrella has at least given Yahoo a reason to exist again, if not an outright purpose.
But at some point Mayer has got to reveal a strategy for all these firms she’s acquired, right? There have to be dots she’s connecting between these various apps and websites she’s been shopping for, to connect the likes of Blink to the likes of Tumblr, in a manner which positions Yahoo at the center of it all. Either that, or she really is just playing a Silicon Valley version of Hoarders.