Yahoo Chief Addresses Hot Topics

Yang also faced tough questions from an audience seeking his views on online privacy and regulation, the America Online/Time Warner merger, the recent Microsoft antitrust case, and bottlenecks to the growth of technology.

"[Privacy] is one of the most important issues we deal with today," Yang said. Yahoo is currently the target of a Federal Trade Commission investigation to determine whether its consumer practices violate FTC consumer protection regulations.

He noted that the definition of privacy changes continually, making privacy protection difficult. Because consumers participate in varying degrees of information collection, it is hard to draw the line between what is and isn't private data, Yang said.

While Yang strongly supports privacy, he added that regulation won't work because it doesn't address the dynamic nature of the online industry. Yang suggested that industry effort should supercede privacy regulation.

"We primarily believe in self-regulation," agreed Rudy Nadilo, president and chief executive officer of Greenfield Online, an Internet marketing research company, when asked for his response to Yang's statement. But he added that a precedent needs to be set in the courts so there is a guideline for establishing privacy policies.

Perils of Microsoft Ruling

The federal judge's ruling that Microsoft violated antitrust laws worries Yang.

"The marketplace needs to keep its competitiveness," he said. Any rulings or regulations that detract from competition will hinder the Internet industry and slow it down. Yang says he supports a marketplace that is free from intense regulation.

Yang views the AOL and Time-Warner deal as a merger of one company with content and one company with distribution channels.

The ultimate question in the scenario is "who controls the eyeballs." Consumers will determine the success of the proposed merger, predicted Yang, because they ultimately have the final choice in what to view.

Yang said he believes bandwidth constraints and consumer devices could limit the explosive growth of technology. Yahoo would like to display richer data, such as streaming audio and video, but is limited by the lack of bandwidth available to many of its users. Likewise, only when consumer devices are available to a widespread user base that can handle higher-quality data will technology continue to advance, according to Yang.

Future Predictions

Yang predicts that the growth in electronic commerce will be astounding in the next few years. In 1999, $80 billion in e-commerce was recorded in the United States, but he sees it rising to $726 billion by 2003.

The Internet is a social phenomenon that is shaping society, Yang said. "It will transform the way we shop, we communicate, and we consume."

Yang added that the Internet will be used in devices that are just becoming available, such as wired cars and kitchen appliances, and others that have not even been designed.

"Everything that touches a customer ... needs to have an Internet connection," Yang said.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nicole Maestri

PC World

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?