Yahoo Could Take Years to Recover, Says CEO Bartz
Yahoo could take years to return to strength, according to
CEO Carol Bartz, who compared her struggling
Internet company to Apple circa the return of Steve Jobs as
CEO in 1997.
"It took him four years," Bartz told the Associated Press and other media during a March 2 meeting to
commemorate Yahoo's 15th anniversary, referring to the length of time Jobs
needed to return Apple to relative health. "I know people want to see magic
things happen. ... The magic things happening are deep inside
our little system here."
Bartz herself has a four-year contract with Yahoo, due to expire in 2013.
Yahoo has been attempting to assert its continued viability as a Web
portal, despite declining
U.S. market share in search and a deal with Microsoft that will see
Bing become the back-end search engine for all Yahoo sites. Under the terms
of that 10-year agreement, Yahoo will take over worldwide sales duties for both
companies' search advertisers, and Microsoft reportedly will pay Yahoo some $150
million in expenses as a deal-closing sweetener.
During an Aug. 24, 2009, press conference, Yahoo executives
insisted that they would retain users by adding additional features to core
properties such as Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Search and others. By
integrating YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites into its front-end
search results, Yahoo hopes to keep users on its sites longer and thus attract
"Background search is much like an Intel chip," Bartz told the media Sept. 22, when she headlined a high-profile event at NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square to mark the launch of Yahoo's $100 million branding campaign. "Thank God they've done their R&D and gotten it out into the world; but the experience that Dell wraps around their chips, and HP wraps around those chips, is different."
Bartz also insisted: "We will continue to drive
relevance; search is incredibly important to us and our advertisers. We need to
provide a great experience, even if the plumbing's down here."
In addition, Bartz has taken to eliminating any underperforming units within the company, including GeoCities, a free Web-hosting service that had steadily lost ground to newer offerings in the decade following its $3.6 billion acquisition by Yahoo. Since the beginning of 2009, Yahoo announced that it would cut around 5 percent of its then-workforce of 13,600 employees.
Despite the push of its latest marketing campaign, however, Yahoo has
seen its U.S.
search market share incrementally decline in the face of fierce
competition from both Google and Microsoft. In January, Yahoo occupied 17
percent of that market, down from 17.3 percent in December 2009, while Google
claimed 65.4 percent and Microsoft owned 11.3 percent.
"Investors hoping that tonight's data would show stabilization for Yahoo will be disappointed," BroadPoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter wrote at the time. "Overall, the trends continue to be very strong for Bing, and remain very bad for Yahoo."