Yahoo in 2008

It would be difficult to find a company that underwent more change in 2007 than Yahoo.
Jerry Yang, co-founder, became CEO after Terry Semel departed. Several VPs came and went — Brandon Holley (previous editor-in-chief of Conde Nast’s Jane) joined as executive producer of the Yahoo Lifestyles unit, Bharath Kadaba and Rachel Glaser left. Pundits at and BoomTown were tough on the company, voicing ex-employee’s concerns about its market value, questioning whether the high number of VPs was absolutely necessary and knocking the company for being somewhat tight-lipped.
Now for the new
Fast-forward to CES 2008 and we find the company unveiling a compelling story about going mobile that includes a mobile client application (Yahoo Go 3.0) and a new developer platform for mobile applications.
Fighting a field of competitors that include Microsoft, Google, Palm and RIM, Yahoo seeks to use its development platform as a differentiator. It includes a simple XML-based programming language and a new software development toolkit will be rolled out soon.
The current version of the Yahoo Go client app has a shiny new user interface they’re referring to as a “carousel.” Users browse left and right through a series of mobile applets developed by Yahoo and other providers that run inside Go. Viacom, eBay, and MTV News are early app developers that announced with Yahoo at CES. Its redesigned mobile homepage — complete with widgets — acts a great deal like the portal Yahoo is known for on the Web.
Making the Web simple again
During a demo at CES, Yang showed a service called Life! that integrates email, structured data, social context, tags and other applications. The company aims to simplify life on the Web by making Yahoo Mail, complemented by third-party applications and social context, a user’s hub.
We think these moves demonstrate that Yang and Yahoo president Sue Decker have been working hard on a turnaround over the past seven months, and it’s beginning to bear fruit. We all know Google has won the search war. A December Hitwise survey showed Google’s market share continuing to rise from 61.84% in 2006 to 65.1% in 2007. That said, the next two quarters will demonstrate whether Yahoo’s new strategy can garner enough interest for a solid financial payoff. They’ve done it before and we wouldn’t bet against them. We think this could be the start of Yahoo coming back to life.

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