Yahoo! in turn-around plan, dumps products

2012-04-18 11:21

kalahari.com

San Francisco - Yahoo! on Tuesday revealed that it will dump products in a quest to return the faded internet star to glory.

Yahoo! boss Scott Thompson announced the move while mapping out the company's turnaround on the heels of an unusually upbeat quarter in which profit climbed 28%.

It was the first time since 2008 that Yahoo! saw revenue rise in a year-over-year comparison of financial quarters.

"Yahoo! has been doing way too much for way too long and was only doing a few things really well," Thompson said during an earnings call.

"We need to be clearer going forward about what we won't do."

Yahoo! will shut down or consolidate 50 products that don't "contribute meaningfully" to revenue, according to the chief executive.

The company's resources will focus on online venues such as News, Finance, Sports, and Yahoo! Mail that attract the most users and advertisers.

Yahoo! reported net income of $286m on revenue just shy of $1.08bn in the first three months of this year.

Yahoo! shares jumped more than 2% on the news, hitting $15.43 a share in after-market trade.

"In the first quarter, Yahoo!'s results came in at the high end of our guidance range and beat consensus on revenue and profits," Thompson said.

Tough decision

"We also made changes to resize the organisation and establish a new leadership structure to quickly deliver the best user and advertiser experiences at scale."

Yahoo! this month said it would slash about 2 000 jobs in a purge aimed at transforming into a "smaller, nimbler, more profitable" company.

Thompson, who took the helm in January promising to turn the company around after a year of falling income, said the job cuts were a "tough decision".

"We had way too many people for the amount of output for this business," Thompson said. "A streamlined Yahoo! will help us get things done at the pace required.

Yahoo! has been trying to reinvent itself as a "premier digital media" company since the once-flowering internet search service found itself withering in Google's shadow.

As the company has strived for a new identity it has seen an exodus of talent that commenced during a failed bid by technology giant Microsoft to buy Yahoo! four years ago for about $45bn.

Yahoo! has yet to see search ad revenue results envisioned when it subsequently struck a deal with Microsoft to power queries at its websites, according to Thompson.

"The search alliance is not yet delivering what we expected and I am personally working with Microsoft to make sure that it does," Thompson said.

The Yahoo! share of US online ad revenues sank to 9.5% last year from 15.7% in 2009 and will drop further this year, according to eMarketer.

Social networking giant Facebook is becoming the preferred venue for display advertising key to Yahoo! revenue while Google's dominance in search advertising strengthens, eMarketer indicated.

Faded internet star

Yahoo! relies on Microsoft's Bing search engine to handle queries at its websites, customising results for users.

The 17-year-old company based in Sunnyvale, California, had more than 14 000 employees at the end of 2011.

Yahoo! has filed a US lawsuit accusing Facebook of infringing on 10 of its patents. That tactic ran into headwind when Facebook fired back at Yahoo! with a countersuit charging that the faded internet star is violating the social network's patents - not the other way around.

Thompson, formerly head of mobile payments firm PayPal, became chief executive after months of turmoil at Yahoo!, including deadlocked talks over possibly selling off the company's valuable assets in China and Japan.

Two weeks after Thompson was recruited, Yahoo! co-founder and former chief executive Jerry Yang resigned from the board of directors.

A few weeks later the chairperson and three other directors said they would step down, opening the way for Thompson's agenda.

That agenda includes trying to "unlock value" of Yahoo! stakes in booming Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and Yahoo! Japan.

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