At the company’s annual meeting Thursday, CEO Carol Bartz began her presentation by saying that one reason she had been intrigued to join Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) earlier this year was because, “It had more than lost its speed — speed of decisions, ability to attract new people to the site.” Bartz outlined several steps the company was taking to regain its “mojo.” She said that the company was working to improve its search experience and confirmed that a redesigned home page will launch later this year. Bartz said she had also been closely examining the company’s product portfolio and described that review Thursday as an attempt to cull “space debris” — sites that had not been necessarily kept fresh and therefore damaged the Yahoo user experience.
So what will the company do to improve shareholder value? a shareholder asked Bartz. She said that it was difficult to do anything in the “traditional fashion” because of economic conditions. Instead, she said, the company was simply working to build up its audience — and therefore revenue. She also implied that it was unlikely that the company would unload its stake in Chinese internet company Alibaba any time soon, saying that “selling it in this market is probably not the best idea in the world.”
Asked by another shareholder why Yahoo’s employees did not generate as much revenue as those at Google, she said that the company was not Google (NSDQ: GOOG). “Please, this direct map comparison to Google is not fair to Google and frankly not relevant,” she said.
She also proactively dismissed any questions about possible ongoing talks with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). “If we ever have a deal with Microsoft it will be announced publicly and until (then) we do not have nothing to say.”
Roughly half the questions dealt with Yahoo’s human rights policies. Bartz eventually responded by saying flat-out, “Yahoo was not incorporated to fix China.”
The meeting started with an uplifting video montage of news clips mentioning Yahoo. Bartz then came on stage saying, “Well, that made me feel good.” She expressed her “gratitude” to the board for hiring her. “I’m having a ball.”