Out on her ear

Oh, Yahoo. Like Nokia, AOL and a host of others, you're an icon of 1990s technology that's never quite adjusted to the 21st Century. Your Mail service is still popular, your home page is millions of people's home page, and yet it's hard to escape the sense you're trading on former glories. When was the last time Yahoo launched a service you were really excited by? With Nokia embracing Windows Phone and AOL buying Huffington Post, at least those two seem to be taking radical steps to get out of the doldrums. What's your plan?

This general sense that Yahoo is drifting is probably the explanation for this news: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, appointed in 2009, was fired yesterday.

Yes, fired. She didn't resign, or decide to explore other opportunities, or even spend more time with her family, she resigned. Always marvellously frank, Bartz didn't sugar-coat her exit when she informed Yahoo's employees in that most 90s of things, a company-wide email. 'I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board,' she wrote. 'It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.'

And that, as they say, was all she wrote. As much as we admire Bartz' straightforward approach, her sacking was probably inevitable - Yahoo's stock price has been down since she arrived and the closure of some services hasn't even begun to amount to a turnaround. Still, something sudden clearly happened to precipitate Bartz' departure, as Yahoo haven't had time to get a replacement lined up. Insert remarks about pilots and sinking ships here.

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