So again you ask, what does this have to do with Yahoo!? Not too long ago, Yahoo! was arguably the premier search engine. These days, however, you don't hear anyone saying that they are "Yahooing" for information. To "Google" something has become a very commonplace expression. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is another incredible source of information (sometimes worthwhile, sometimes junk) - according to one report, more video is uploaded to YouTube in two months than was created by the major networks combined in six decades.
What does Yahoo! need to do to retain and improve its position as a search leader? That is up for debate, but this writer would like to suggest that the controversy itself may be behind the recent decision by CEO Marissa Mayer to end the option for employees to telecommute. Although Yahoo! trails only Google and Chinese site Baidu in terms of search queries, the gap is extraordinary - in November and December 2012, Google had 114.73 billion queries, versus 14.5 billion for Baidu and 8.63 billion for Yahoo! While that is still a lot of hits on the Yahoo! website, that is only 4.9% of the queries. For better or worse, this past week, Yahoo! has gone from being an afterthought to being top-of-mind. Personally, when I was working on the corporate side, I found the flexibility to work from home when my wife and I adopted our daughters to be very important. It enabled me to often put in longer workdays by not sitting in traffic for several hours each day, and to be productive when one of us was under the weather. That being said, I think there is a case to be made for informal interactions at the office. There is a certain energy that may be difficult to replicate when working from home. My guess is that once Yahoo! weathers this storm, there will be some modification of the new policy, primarily due to competitive necessity. With so many major technology-based companies in Silicon Valley, there would seem to be a risk of losing not just those who were abusing the telecommuting option, but also those very productive employees for whom it was a welcome benefit in the work-life balance spectrum.
By the way, whether you search on Google or Yahoo!, you will find the late Yankees shortstop and announcer Phil Rizzuto with the query "holy cow baseball announcer". (Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray also appears in both search results.)