Yahoo! chief bets on mobile future
WASHINGTON—Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer said in an interview released Wednesday she is pushing the Web giant’s focus to mobile, including getting its employees on smartphones.
“We have a terrific set of assets on the Web, they are all the things people want to do on their mobile phone,” said Mayer in an interview with Fortune magazine, which was also released by its partner CNN Money.
In her first media interview since becoming CEO in July, Mayer said she is getting employees to use the popular mobile systems including Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Windows 8, while getting rid of BlackBerrys.
“It is really important that our engineers, our sales people and everyone throughout the whole organization really understand Android, iPhone and Windows 8, really get a sense of what is happening there, and how to participate in that, how to create an amazing experience.”
The shift to mobile “is a huge opportunity for Yahoo! because we have the content, we have the all the information people want on their phones,” she said.
Mayer said, however, that Yahoo! will not be producing mobile maps, saying that there is a lesson from Apple’s flop in that software.
“It’s very expensive, it’s hard to do well,” she said. “Apple’s finding that out. So we’re not going to do maps.”
Mayer said that Yahoo! will focus on things people want on their smartphones without trying to compete in areas such as hardware and operating systems.
“When you look at what people want to do on their phone, you can read it from top to bottom,” she said. “It’s mail, weather, check stock quotes, check sports scores, watch videos, share photos, check the news.”
Yahoo!’s lack of some features “is a real opportunity for us to partner,” Mayer said.
“We don’t have a mobile OS, we don’t have mobile hardware, we don’t have a social network, we don’t have a browser, which means we can partner with the best people.”
Mayer, who disclosed after taking over as CEO that she was pregnant, said that caring for her baby is “way easier” than she had anticipated and that Yahoo! “is a really fun place to work.”
She said that in order to meet her obligations she has to “ruthlessly prioritize,” which means avoiding most news interviews.
“It’s God, family and Yahoo!, in that order,” she said.
Mayer was due in Washington Wednesday, one of several executives to meet with President Barack Obama on economic growth and deficit reduction.