Yahoo 'hasn't capitalized on the mobile opportunity,' CEO Mayer admits

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Hosting her first earnings call as Yahoo President and CEO, Marissa Mayer admitted Monday that the company has failed to exploit opportunities in the mobile segment, pledging dramatic changes moving forward.

Mayer--hired from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in July--said mobile "represents not only a daily habit, but a fundamental and massive platform shift, a platform shift that we have to ride and participate in, in order to be relevant." She added that Yahoo "hasn't capitalized on the mobile opportunity. We haven't effectively optimized our websites, we've underinvested in our mobile front-end development and we've splintered our brands. We have more than 76 applications across Android and iOS. All of this needs to change."

Calling a more focused and coherent mobile strategy Yahoo's "top priority," Mayer said the company will focus on building a "strong technical talent base for mobile" including engineers, product managers and designers. In the "near future," she said, "Yahoo will have to be a predominantly mobile company, which means that at least half of our technical workforce should be working on mobile."

Mayer added that Yahoo's core news, information, entertainment and social services are well positioned for mobile growth, stating "We will continue to work with top partners and media companies to further build and scale these opportunities. We'll strive to make the daily habits of smartphone and tablet use more social, engaging, beautiful and compelling."

Yahoo reported third quarter earnings of $3.16 billion, up from $293 million in the year-ago quarter--the spike was attributed to the $2.8 billion sale of Yahoo's stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. Revenue slipped 1 percent to $1.202 billion from $1.217 billion a year ago; search revenue increased 1 percent to $473 million, and display revenue also rose 1 percent to $506 million.

Mayer noted that Yahoo's third quarter efforts also included a redesigned mobile search page rolled out in 23 international markets, generating increased usage. Yahoo additionally updated its Flickr photo sharing app for Google's Android and overhauled its IntoNow second-screen check-in app.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article
- read this Seeking Alpha transcript

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