China’s Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma said Yahoo CEO Bartz’s exit was nothing to do with him or any of his 40 thieves.
Bartz was fired by phone and many analysts think that Ma was behind it all. Yahoo owns about 40 percent of Alibaba and over recent years the relationship between the two has frayed.
Ma and Bartz had a difficult relationship partly because Ma wanted to buy back Yahoo’s stake in his company and Bartz was not selling.
Things got worse in May when Yahoo announced that it was unaware that Ma had spun-off its e-payment unit, Alipay, to a company owned by Ma. Alibaba countered, saying Yahoo was well aware of the Alipay transfer and that it had done so to comply with domestic regulations.
According to Reuters, Ma told the annual gathering of entrepreneurs that contrary to popular belief, he was not the reason for the departure of Yahoo’s CEO.
We guess that he means that he didn’t ring someone up and demand Bartz’s head on a plate, but her handling of the Alibaba situation might have been in board member’s minds when they asked her to go.
However, equally Bartz’s own attitude to the board might have caused a few problems. In the call where she was fired, Bartz worked out that chairman Roy Bostock was reading from a script and claimed he had not got the balls to deal with her directly. Based on that, and the fact that Yahoo had not turned itself around under her rule, it is more likely that Yahoo was terrified of her and just wanted a quiet life.
Alibaba, meanwhile, is continuing to expand. It has said it will launch an English version of its mobile operating system, Aliyun OS, sometime this month and a tablet running on that platform within the next two months.