Marissa Mayer outlined her plans for Yahoo’s future in her first earnings call as CEO of the beleaguered digital media enterprise. The company’s third-quarter earnings were better than expected: Earnings-per-share were 35 cents on revenue of $1.09 billion, compared to analysts’ estimates of 26 cents per share on revenue of $1.08 billion.
Mayer began the call by talking about recent changes to Yahoo’s culture, which has a new commitment to “open dialogue” and “transparency.” Employees’ quarterly individual goals have been mapped to company goals. They have also been given free phones and free food in an effort to make Yahoo “the absolute best place to work.”
Mayer identified Yahoo’s “core products” as search, mail, ads, mobile, news and the homepage — in that order. She emphasized that Yahoo would not change direction dramatically; rather, “[we’re] going back to our roots as a consumer Internet company focused on consumer experience,” she said.
“I don’t think there’s a giant pivot… I think this is about improved execution,” she added.
Mobile came up repeatedly during the call. “Some point in the future Yahoo will have to be a predominantly mobile company,” Mayer acknowledged, adding that Yahoo needed more mobile engineers. She noted that the company recently deployed a redesigned mobile search page across 23 pages, “resulting in increased usage,” and that an update to Flickr for Android received “rave reviews.”
One analyst asked Mayer whether Yahoo would go after more of the local ad market. “Local … is very hard to do well,” she said, and as the former head of local services at Google, she would know. “I think our local offerings are good at the moment [and] I think it’s hard to take that next step to provide even deeper functionality … [It’s] probably not an area where we’re going to invest moving forward,” she said.
Mayer and new CFO Ken Goldman both suggested that Yahoo’s search partnership with Microsoft has been less than satisfactory, but did not elaborate on their plans to address it.
Goldman did not issue fourth-quarter guidance, saying he had not been with the company long enough. (His first day was today.)
Many had expected Mayer to announce some acquisitions — namely, that of restaurant reservation service OpenTable, and possibly advertising tool PubMatic and mobile ad company Millennial Media. Mayer said Yahoo does not “have particular acquisitions in mind today” and that any future acquisitions would be “less than $100 million.”
Image courtesy of Flickr, jolieodell