Jerry Yang leaves Yahoo

Yang resigned from all his posts at Yahoo (See video below)

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"Maybe Yang is the sacrificial lamb," he said in a phone interview. "There may be more board resignations and substitutions coming."

Gartner analyst Allen Weiner sees Yang's departure as a vote of confidence, to an extent, that Yahoo is strong enough to succeed in the new digital world without his guidance. "Given its future as a digital media company, Yang's lack of media expertise makes him somewhat of an unnecessary cog," Weiner said via email.

Regardless of the internal events that led to Yang's exit, it will definitely play to those outside as a sign that Yahoo is embarking on a new beginning under its new CEO, the analysts said.

"It's a very clear signal that this is a new page, that anything that happened in the past isn't necessarily the path they'll take in the future," Li said.

Added Weiner: "His departure could be a symbolic gesture to separate the company from its past as much as possible."

Yang co-founded Yahoo with David Filo in 1995, but Yang has historically been the most visible of the two. Filo remains with the company.

The two launched Yahoo as one of the first Web directories and search engines. It evolved into a broad Web portal that provided online communications services such as email and a variety of content, such as news, finance information, entertainment content and the like.

Yahoo ruled as a leading Web portal until the mid-2000s, when Google started gaining strength, thanks to its superior search engine, which would also give Google a dominant position in the large and profitable market for search advertising.

Terry Semel, who had been Yahoo's CEO since 2001, finally got fired in mid-2007. A shift in power from traditional portals such as Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft's MSN to Google became evident, as a critical mass of Web surfers made Google the center of their online activities.

At that point, Yang stepped in as CEO and pledged to lead Yahoo on a comeback, but about six months into his tenure as CEO he had to throw out his playbook in order to deal with a hostile takeover from Microsoft in early 2008.

Microsoft's attempt to buy Yahoo became a corporate soap opera that generated plenty of headlines in the first half of 2008, as Yang and the Yahoo board resisted the takeover, arguing at different points that Yahoo was worth more than what Microsoft was offering.

Microsoft eventually gave up, after a final offer of about $47 billion went nowhere, but the months-long episode clearly sidetracked and distracted Yang and Yahoo's staff in general.

Yang, who had until then been a largely charismatic and well-liked figure, also emerged with a tarnished image, as some financial analysts and company shareholders blamed him for the failure of Microsoft's attempted buyout.

Months later, in January 2009, Yang stepped aside as CEO, handing over the reins to Carol Bartz. During her tenure, Yang remained largely backstage, making few public appearances.

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