The Morning Download: Yahoo, Farewell, We Hardly Knew You

Good morning. The combination of shock and remorse greeting the end of Yahoo Inc. as an independent company is generational in nature. It's a big deal for the original or early users of the company, but in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? If Alphabet Inc.'s Google was acquired, and ended up in the hands of a large telecom company, it would make a difference. Can we really say the same about Yahoo?

Among the several billion or so stories to come out of Verizon Communications Inc.'s planned acquisition of the 1990s-flashback company, a look at the diverging paths Yahoo and upstart Google took in the year 2000 deserves a read. Many factors played a role in their differing fates, the Journal's Jack Nicas writes, but at the core of Google's triumph was a consistent management team that focused relentlessly on technology. Yahoo, by contrast, vacillated among six chief executives who often emphasized content over the technology itself, leading to a blur of business models.

Former Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse tells Reuters that he was at a company retreat in 2006, where participants were asked to associate words with the names of big tech and internet companies. No one could agree what Yahoo was supposed to be. "It was all over the map," recalled Mr. Garlinghouse, now COO of payment settlement start-up Ripple Labs. "Some people said mail. Some people said news. Some people said search," he told Reuters. Yahoo, we hardly knew you. You hardly knew yourself.

Combatant Gentlemen is tech first, fashion second. Four-year-old startup Combatant Gentlemen, created to bring designer-quality men's suits to the market for a fraction of the going rate, is based on an online sales model, with a focus on its global supply chain, knitted together with a unique IT infrastructure powered by machine learning. "We look at it as tech first, fashion second. I think as a digitally native brand, you have to be, these days," Vishaal Melwani, co-founder, creative director and of CEO of the firm, tells CIO Journal. "We believe in letting automation and technology do the heavy lifting. We believe in having proprietary software for ourselves.

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Steve Jobs confidant back to drive Apple project. Apple Inc. has lured former executive turned company adviser Bob Mansfield back to active duty to oversee its fledgling automobile project. Apple, which has never acknowledged publicly that it is working on a car, has hundreds of employees working on the project, the WSJ's Daisuke Wakabayashi report. People closest to the project say some of the automobile industry veterans have clashed with longtime company employees on how best to proceed.

Novel idea: Design apps for customers. International Business Machines Corp. and a host of other large business technology firms are hiring designers by the thousands to help engineers build software and services that customers actually want, Bloomberg reports. While the philosophy, design-thinking, has been embraced by designers for decades, it has only recently been recognized by the tech services industry looking to avoid disruption by startups with better-designed software, Bloomberg says.

Amazon gets U.K. drone permission. Amazon.com Inc. formed a partnership with the British government to test drones, beginning immediately, the New York Times reports. The move will allow Amazon to test piloting drones beyond the line of sight of operators and other aspects of the technology that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration so far has not permitted. It also indicates Amazon is comfortable with the prospect of doing business in Britain after it departs the European Union.

State politician cites Twitter, Facebook hacks for decision to resign. An Illinois state representative is blaming his battle against fake social media accounts set up in his name for his decision to leave office, Reuters reports. Ron Sandack, Republican floor leader, House Republican floor leader, was up for re-election in November, Reuters said.

DNC hack investigated by FBI. CBS reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the hack that involved Democratic National Committee emails. Motherboard, citing metadata and IP addresses linked to the hack, adds that the "forensic evidence linking the DNC breach to known Russian operations is very strong." Yahoo Inc. last December announced that it would be warning customers if it had evidence of "state sponsored" cyberattacks directed against them. A reporter for Yahoo Finance writes Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa started receiving those warnings on her personal Yahoo email account after starting research on the connection of Donald Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort to pro-Russia political leaders in Ukraine.

Texas Instruments issues strong guidance. Texas Instruments Inc. said Monday that demand in the automotive, industrial and communications sectors helped the chip maker post revenue and profit in the upper range of its estimates, the Journal's Ezequiel Minaya reports. The Dallas-based company, an Apple supplier, focuses on analog chips, which have a high-profit margin, and embedded processors, the "brains" of many electronic devices from electric toothbrushes to driver-assistance systems in autos.

EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Federal Reserve is preparing to bring an enforcement action against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and one of its former executives over a case concerning the theft of central-bank secrets  (WSJ)

The decline of oil transportation by rail in the U.S. is threatening what was once viewed as a sizable driver of growth for the railroad industry. (WSJ)

Stocks in Europe and U.S. futures were little changed as investors held fire ahead of major central bank meetings this week and the latest wave of corporate earnings results in the U.S. (WSJ)

Long-term returns for U.S. public pensions are expected to drop to the lowest levels ever recorded, intensifying a national debate over whether states and cities can continue to afford pension obligations.  (WSJ)

Tom Loftus contributed to this article. The Morning Download comes from the editors of CIO Journal and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. Send us your tips, compliments and complaints. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking http://on.wsj.com/TheMorningDownloadSignup.


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