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Marissa Mayer on Yahoo’s plan for success

Sections: Business News, Mobile, Smartphones, Web

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credit: Christoph Dernbach

Yahoo was once the web’s go-to destination.  It is the first search engine I recall using.  In the past decade, Yahoo has watched its market share erode in the face of Google’s dominance.  Google’s rise was due to a variety of factors including innovations such as PageRank and Maps. These innovations wouldn’t have been possible without Google’s people, a cast of highly intelligent individuals from all over the world.  Among the early bunch was Marissa Mayer, a young computer science graduate from Stanford.  She grew with the company and became Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, putting her in charge of one of the company’s most important departments.

It is no surprise that Yahoo’s board saw her tremendous value and hired her as their CEO.  In her new position, Mayer made immediate changes to improve employee morale such as free cell phones and lunches.  At the same time, she has announced painful layoffs in an effort to make the company leaner and more efficient.  This is the dual-edged sword the CEO of an oft-misguided company must wield.

In an interview with Fortune, Mayer talked the way forward.  That way seems to largely involve mobile devices.  She shared what happened when she took notice of what users do on their cell phones:

“The interesting thing is when you look at what people want to do on their phone, it’s mail, weather, check stock quotes and news. That’s Yahoo’s business. This is a huge opportunity for us because we have the content and all the information people want on their phones.”

Yahoo does offer a powerful suite of services. Once they manage to consolidate these services into an intuitive application, they may once again capture some of the magic that once was.  My concern is whether or not a good app is enough–when Google specifically offers its own services for Android phones.  Hopefully Yahoo has a plan in motion that will give the app value above that of Google’s offerings.

Mayer also stated that they do not want to re-invent the wheel, and noted Apple’s failed maps experience as a reason why there is still value in partnerships.  This may quell some of the chatter about Yahoo becoming “Google-lite” with similar mapping and search services.  Look for Yahoo do a lot more partnering in the future as they claw back from the nadir of indecision.  It looks like Marissa and company are on the right track.

Via [Fortune Tech]

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