Wed, Oct 24, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Yahoo lays out mobile strategy

STATEMENT:The company’s CEO said she intended to continue to mine information about users to tailor online content and to target profitable advertising

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

A sign in front of Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, is pictured on Wednesday last week.

Photo: AFP

Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer on Monday revealed a revival strategy that includes making a priority of delivering the Internet firm’s popular online services to smartphones and tablets.

Freshly returned from maternity leave after giving birth to a boy just a few weeks ago, Mayer used an upbeat quarterly earnings release conference call to lay out her vision for returning the faded Internet pioneer to glory.

Mayer, who took over in July at Yahoo after 13 years at Google, said her first 100 days at the Sunnyvale, California, company “have been a lot of fun.”

“This job is tailor-made for me,” Mayer said while taking part in her first Yahoo earnings conference call.

“We have been zeroing in on the efficiency and well-being of employees,” she added. “Companies are all about people. The companies with the best talent win.”

Along with removing bureaucracy and laying out monthly goals for employees, Mayer has bolstered morale with perks such as free meals on campus and free Apple or Android smartphones.

The smartphones also serve to focus Yahoo workers on adapting the firm’s Web sites and services to mobile devices being woven ever more tightly into modern lifestyles, according to Mayer.

“Our vision is to make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining,” she said, referring to the ranks of people whose routines include turning to Yahoo for sports results, news, e-mail and more.

“Mobile represents not only a daily habit but a platform shift we have to ride in order to be relevant,” she said.

Yahoo has failed to capitalize on the opportunity presented by people using smartphones or tablets to connect with the Internet, which is now a top priority at the company, Mayer said.

“We do need more mobile engineers here,” Mayer said. “It is clear that at some point in the future Yahoo will have to be a predominately mobile company.”

Mayer echoed the mantra of predecessors who maintained that the company could find prosperity by mining information about users to insightfully tailor online content and target money-making advertising.

“While we have a lot to do, the future for Yahoo is incredibly bright,” Mayer said. “No one wants Yahoo to grow more than the people who work here.”

Mayer has put in place hand-picked executives she described as her “dream team” and said the company is keen to hire talented engineers adept at software for mobile devices.

She also said she was devoted to Yahoo making its own content, citing success with original news coverage of the Olympic Games in London.

Cash pumped into Yahoo coffers from the sale of part of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (阿里巴巴) will be used to buy back stock, but some will be kept to acquire promising small technology firms, the company said.

Yahoo on Monday reported that its quarterly profit rocketed above US$3 billion fueled by Alibaba reclaiming its stock.

Yahoo still owns about 24 percent of Alibaba Group’s outstanding stock, according to the California firm’s newly hired chief financial officer Ken Goldman.

Revenue from display advertising was little changed from the same quarter last year but Yahoo reported its income from ads served up with online search results was up 11 percent thanks to a revenue-guarantee deal with Microsoft.

The earnings topped Wall Street expectations and Yahoo shares climbed more than 4 percent to US$16.49 in after-market trading on the NASDAQ.

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