Now comes the hard part as Yahoo wrestles with a question of direction

There’s a new parlor game in Silicon Valley: guessing who will replace Jerry Yang at the helm of the troubled Internet giant Yahoo.Yang, a Yahoo co-founder, said on Monday that he would give up the chief executive role once a successor is named and revert to being “chief Yahoo,” the strategy position he held before his 18 turbulent months running the company.But even before its new boss is selected, Yahoo has an even more fundamental decision to make, say analysts and other Internet watchers. Does it want to remain an independent company, trying to expand in a range of businesses while it combats Google in the crucial arena of Web search? Or should it finally listen to the devotees of deal-making and sell some or all of itself to another Internet player, most likely Microsoft?

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