Yahoo's new CEO Mayer takes on the mobile challenge

Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:25pm EDT
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By Alexei Oreskovic and Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc's new CEO Marissa Mayer sketched out her plan for revamping the mobile and search advertising business on Monday, outlining publicly for the first time her vision for getting the ailing Web company back on its feet.

Mayer, once a rising star at Google Inc who took charge at Yahoo in July, told analysts on a conference call she wanted to focus Yahoo's efforts around the "daily habits" of users such as email, the home page, Internet search and mobile devices.

But her top priority is to fashion a coherent strategy to manage the industry's transition to mobile devices, a fundamental shift that some of the most innovative Silicon Valley companies - from Facebook Inc to Google Inc - are struggling with.

"The mobile wave is a huge wave for us to ride," Mayer said on the conference call.

The 37-year-old CEO talked about working more closely with software provider and Web search partner Microsoft Corp, while employing technology to shore up its display ads business through such features as automated buying.

She added that the company is likely to begin withdrawing from international businesses that fail to grow. This month, executives said the company will pull out of South Korea, a market full of local rivals. And she said that the company would primarily focus on "smaller-scale" acquisitions to bolster Yahoo's products, assuaging some shareholder concerns that the company could embark on an expensive shopping spree.

Yahoo shares were up more than 4 percent at $16.50 in after hours trading on Monday.

"She handled the call very well," said Gabelli & Co analyst Brett Harriss.   Continued...

A Yahoo! billboard is seen in New York's Time's Square January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid