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The Tortoise Passes Two Hares

"Yahoo lives, but on the web's equivalent of life support," writes The Economist, following the Web giant's "vague" search deal with Google. It is shame, the magazine says, because the once-vibrant Yahoo is one of the last standing original Web giants, along with online retailers eBay and Amazon (AOL faded from prominence long ago). As hundreds of other dotcoms rose and fell, the three Web giants have persevered over the last 14 years, withstanding even the great Internet crisis of the early 2000s.

"Their fates have reflected the evolution of the web as a whole," The Economist says, "and now suggest its future direction." Of the three, Amazon is healthiest. After struggling to become profitable for years, the Web's leading retailer is now raking in the cash, and has expanded into promising new businesses such as cloud computing. The tortoise, if you will, is now passing the hares, as Yahoo and eBay struggle to overcome rapid growth declines in their core businesses. Yahoo, following the old media reign of mogul Terry Semel "is now drifting", while eBay "is a washed-up quasi-monopoly."

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