Yahoo's Next Chief
Gilbert Amelio became Apple's CEO in 1996, and, in terms of image, it was a poor fit. Apple really did need adult supervision from someone outside the sect, but Amelio came from stodgy old National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM). Other Apple CEOs had worn suits and ties, but Amelio exuded stuffiness, even when he eventually lost the tie.
He was Apple's most corporate-looking CEO. And, like Michael Spindler and John Sculley before him, Amelio thought it was critical to make the Macintosh palatable to the corporate world, to boost market share by getting a seat at the grown-ups' table.
His job was to turn Apple gray.
When Steve Jobs took over, a famous 500 days later, he reportedly kicked off his first meeting with: "The products SUCK!" followed by, "There's no sex in them anymore." Apple came back to life not by doing business on the PC's terms, but by relearning how to tell the market what to do. Corporate Macs didn't save the company; the iPod did.
Yahoo won't beat Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) by trying to be like Google. Ditto for Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). It doesn't need a turnaround expert who's just going to announce massive cutbacks while trying to chase AdWords.
If it's possible to revive Yahoo -- assuming that's the goal, rather than finding the most dignified way to sell it off -- it has to be done by rediscovering what the purple-and-yellow excitement was all about in the first place. Swing for the fences, Yahoo. Hire from the outside; that's fine. Just don't hire a Gil Amelio.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading