By now, everyone knows that Microsoft has pulled its bid to purchase Yahoo totally off the table. At this point, Microsoft figures it will figure another way to make a dent into the online search market, hopefully finding a way to make its MSN Live search engine a real player in the market.

At this point Jerry Yang, the CEO of Yahoo, it going to show the world just what others think of him as a leader. His wasn’t an easy decision, and he will either be thought of as a visionary or as the world’s world gambling CEO. Here’s some quick details.

Microsoft made an initial bid for Yahoo at around $27 a share when Yahoo’s share value was around $20. Yahoo’s share price went up after that, and kept going up, though slowly. Yet, Yahoo balked, figuring they were worth more than their share value. Last week Microsoft upped the ante by bidding $33 a share, still higher than the present worth of Yahoo, and they didn’t budge.

At that point Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, had two choices. He could have gone ugly and taken the offer directly to the shareholders, which could have lead to a protracted legal battle, or he could just walk away and save himself and his company billions. We know what he did.

Now Yang has to face some realities. First, the shares of Yahoo will drop tomorrow; how much remains to be seen, but it’s going to fall. Second, he faces some definite lawsuits from some of the shareholders, who saw a nice increase in their pockets as well as the possibility of hooking up with the company that was the number one tech company in the world last year as it pertains to profit. Third, he’d made kind of an audacious promise to the shareholders that the value of Yahoo would increase by a significant amount in 2007, and it’s going to be made tougher at this point. Fourth, Yahoo is getting ready to try a project where they’re going to be advertising on Google, their main competition, which might devalue their company even more. And fifth, many investors feel as though Yang isn’t looking much like a leader who believes in the company because they feel the number of shares he himself owns in Yahoo are deficient, and hasn’t bought any shares during the time that Microsoft’s offer has been on the table.

It’s a tough leadership position to be in. We don’t know if the majority of the shareholders or the company believes in him or his vision. He hasn’t communicated all that well with either during this tense time, and that makes people nervous. He hasn’t shown himself that he fully believes in what he’s thinking, and sometimes a leader has to be more visual to inspire others. Frankly, right now, I’d almost hate to be in Mr. Yang’s shoes.

Almost, that is, because no matter what, Yang will be a very rich man, and this gives him a bit more leeway in being able to take a tough stance that might cost him his job. We won’t know for a few months whether his vision was on point or whether he cost his company and shareholders the chance of a lifetime. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.