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Business Briefing

Yahoo Strategy Goes Primetime with Marissa Mayer

Yahoo Strategy Goes Primetime with Marissa Mayer
January 25, 2013 11:33AM

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"Our focus...means there is an opportunity for strong partnerships," said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. "We work with Apple and Google in terms of the operating system. In terms of social network, we have a strong partnership with Facebook. We're able to work with some of these players that have a lot of strength in order to bolster our user experience" on Yahoo.

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Marissa Mayer just wrapped up her first TV interview since she jumped from Google to her job as Yahoo CEO. Bloomberg Television broadcast the interview in which Mayer discussed her focus upon arriving at Yahoo, her objectives, Yahoo's mobile strategy, and how Yahoo plans to compete.

"I think that there's a real opportunity to help guide people's daily habits in terms of what content they read. That is something that we are really working on," Mayer said. "All of these daily habits -- news, sports, games, finance, search, mail, answers, groups -- these are all things we have been under-invested in. A little love will go a long way."

Yahoo Has the Content

When it comes to Yahoo's mobile strategy, Mayer stressed that the company has all the content people want on their phone -- content that falls in line with consumers' daily habits. As she sees it, whenever you're dealing with a daily habit and providing a lot of value around it, there is an opportunity not only to provide a lot of value to the end user but to also create a great business.

Of course, Yahoo is missing some key components that Google, Microsoft, Apple and other competitors have. Specifically -- and Mayer acknowledged this -- Yahoo does not have mobile hardware, a mobile OS, a browser, or a social network. How can Yahoo, then, compete?

"Of the Four Horsemen of the Internet, to adopt that analogy, almost all of them are playing in one if not several of those media. I think that the big piece here is that it really allows us to partner. Yahoo has always been a very friendly company," Mayer said.

"Our focus, in addition to technology but also on media, it means there is an opportunity for strong partnerships. That is what we will be focused on. We work with Apple and Google in terms of the operating system. In terms of social network, we have a strong partnership with Facebook. We're able to work with some of these players that have a lot of strength in order to bolster our user experience that we offer on the Yahoo site."

But Is the Content Enough?

Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, told us the Mayer is saying, conceptually, that Yahoo can do for users what Yahoo used to do: help people organize and consume Web content.

"However, the technology and methodologies behind that today are very different. Mayer describes the increasing sophistication of technology and the proliferation of user data -- location, interests, friends, activities -- and how all those things will be combined to enable greater personalization," Sterling said.

"Her ideas and insights are entirely valid. The question for Yahoo as a company is whether it can remain relevant with larger and more powerful companies seeking to do some or all of what Yahoo has historically done."

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