Yahoo looks to new products, mobile to restore company growth

CEO Marissa Mayer points to product launches such as the redesigned Flickr iOS app and Yahoo Mail as positive steps for the company

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has identified new products and mobile investments as among several strategies aimed at keeping the company relevant as it tries to compete against the likes of Google and Facebook.

On Monday, Mayer highlighted recently revamped hiring protocols and product launches, such as its redesigned Flickr iOS app and Yahoo Mail, as positive steps for the company, though she stressed that "there's a lot of work still to be done." Mayer spoke on a conference call Monday to discuss the company's mixed results for the fourth quarter of 2012, which showed revenue up but profit down from a year earlier.

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"Flickr and Yahoo Mail marked the start of these efforts," Mayer said.

Yahoo will focus on developing or redesigning roughly a dozen products in the months and years to come, each built around people's "daily digital habits," Mayer said.

She cited search, the homepage, finance, sports and news as areas the company would be focusing on, without giving more details.

Yahoo said its three key business challenges going forward are, in order of priority, increasing usage, growing its international presence and appealing to a broader set of users.

Mayer also said mobile products are "incredibly important to our strategy," and that the company is working to make them a substantial part of its business. As part of that effort, the company recently acquired the mobile recommendations app Stamped and the video chat broadcasting app OnTheAir. "This is a nascent source of revenue for us," Mayer said.

Though the company said it does not break out financial performance metrics for its mobile products individually, mobile adoption of Yahoo products grew to more than 200 million monthly unique users in the fourth quarter, the company reported.

Yahoo also reported on its progress toward having at least 50 percent of its engineering workforce dedicated to mobile. Though it is not there yet, the company hired 120 new employees with computer science degrees in the fourth quarter and allocated them largely to new mobile product areas, Mayer said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com.

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