Yahoo CEO Mayer revamps email in first big product move

Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:00pm EST
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc rolled out new versions of its popular Web email on Tuesday, the first major product makeover since Chief Executive Marissa Mayer took the helm of the struggling Internet company five months ago.

Yahoo released new versions of its Yahoo Mail product for smartphones and tablets - in keeping with Mayer's focus on mobile devices - and a revamped version of its Web-based mail product for PC users that cuts out ancillary features and that the company said delivers faster performance.

"You've told us loud and clear that you want fewer distractions when it comes to email. You want to quickly login, communicate, and get on with your day," Mayer said in a post on Yahoo's official blog on Tuesday.

Yahoo is the No. 1 Web email product in the United States and No. 3 worldwide, behind Google Inc's Gmail and Microsoft Corp's Hotmail, according to comScore.

But the number of unique users of Yahoo email declined 16 percent in November from a year earlier in the United States and 7 percent worldwide in October, according to comScore. Gmail's unique users increased 25 percent in the U.S. in November and 20 percent worldwide in October.

Analysts say Yahoo's email decline also owes partly to the broader trend of younger Internet users who prefer to communicate with text messages rather than email.

Mayer, 37, is moving to revitalize Yahoo's various Web products and reverse years of declining revenue. A former Google executive, Mayer is widely admired in Silicon Valley for her Web product savvy, though some analysts and investors have expressed caution, noting that Mayer has never before led an entire company as CEO.

She has said her top priority is to create a coherent mobile strategy for Yahoo and that she intends for at least half of the company's technical workforce to be working on mobile products.   Continued...

The headquarters of Yahoo Inc. is pictured in Sunnyvale, California, May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith