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Yahoo - Surviving After One Year With a New CEO

David Silversmith
David Silversmith

It's been a year since Carol Bartz took over the helm of the struggling Yahoo.  Has this been a year of striving or just surviving?

It’s been one year to since Yahoo brought in former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz as their chief executive. The past year has been ruled not by the addition of new innovative features, but instead Yahoo under Bartz has focused on slimming down and cutting costs.  Compare this to Microsoft  launching Bing and Google launching potential game changing tools like Google Wave along with numerous Google search enhancements

In her first conference call back in January, new CEO Carol Bartz said “everything’s open for examination” when it comes to streamlining operations and improving the bottom line.- shuttered GeoCities and offloaded Zimbra to VMware.  Carol Bartz said video was an exciting area for the company and that she was interested in acquiring more video technology and less than a month latter Yahoo closed Maven, an online-video service. 

Add to the closure list Yahoo 360, Yahoo Briefcase (and all the puns about the lid closing on the briefcase), Direct Media Exchange and Yahoo's discount travel search engine FareChase. Yahoo even closed the Yahoo offices for the December holidays, leaving only critical staff on duty, in an effort to shave expenses.

The closures were not even limited to old services like Geocities.  In July of 2009 Yahoo spent $20 million (USD) to acquire Xoopit and by November they announced that Xoopit would discontinue support for a popular Gmail plug-in.  Xoopit, which combines media files from users' Gmail accounts, has been integrated into Yahoo's own Web mail service and they opted against any integration that could be seem as supporting the competing Google Gmail service.

While refusing to be seen integrating with Google, the most innovative steps that Yahoo has taken have been about partnerships and integration with other web players.  In the core search space Yahoo cemented the road map to get out of the search game by completing a partnership deal with Microsoft.  They integrated with Facebook Connect (notice the prominent Facebook placement on the Yahoo home page as shown in the screen captured image above) and added Twitter to search results.

To Yahoo's credit, profits exceeded analyst expectations in the latter half of 2009, leading some to speculate Yahoo’s big picture has begun to stabilize.  However, the positive financial results largely tied to these cost saving measures - not innovation. Yahoo's sales have fallen for four straight quarters, and its stock trailed the Nasdaq Composite Index in the past year.

One year in to CEO Carol Bartz’s tenure, the executive gave herself a B- for her performance thus far - what do you think about Yahoo's progress?

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