The economy may be “bumping along the bottom,” as Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz said during the company’s press conference. But afterward, Bartz told paidContent that there are no further layoffs on the horizon: “We have no more layoffs; we’re done. That’s it.” Yahoo has already cut its workforce by 700 under Bartz and took a nearly $27 million charge on it this summer. Bartz also talked informally with a group of reporters about the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) search deal, the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium, and Yahoo’s role in enterprise business.
— Everyone wants a pre-Lehman deal: Bartz was asked about how the Yahoo-Microsoft search deal might have differed if it had been made before the global financial collapse. “Everybody wants what I call a ‘pre-Lehman deal.’ They want the world. I was focused on three things from the Microsoft deal: I wanted ongoing revenue, which is important to funding our strategy; if I’d have gotten the money upfront, every billion dollars gives me $3 million in interest income. That’s it. Because I give half to Obama. So I get about half a million. I get half a percent interest. That’s $2.5 million. I don’t have a balance sheet problem; I have a strong balance sheet. What I need is revenue so I spend money. So, with the Microsoft deal, I got revenue and my expenses covered.” The other two things: ad sales and Yahoo branding — not Bing.
On newspapers and APT: During an earning call a few months ago, Bartz expressed weariness with questions about the rollout of the APT display ad delivery and targeting system. She said that as a system, it will constantly be improved upon and should never be considered done. That said, the pace of getting newspapers up on APT has been slow. But Bartz told me that the system is now fully functional and she’s sure that publishers know the company’s moves into the local ad arena are not taking anything away from the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium partners. “I’ve spoken to most of the publishers and they’ve told me they’re satisfied.”
Business enterprise vs. consumers: She also described APT as a basic enterprise system and sought to illustrate how both the enterprise and the consumer side go hand in hand. “I don’t think you have to choose which one should be the focus,” she said. “[The enterprise and the consumer parts of Yahoo ] are two children and they both come to the dinner table. We couldn’t run the consumer business at its scale without getting money from the ad business. So the fact is, we have some of the biggest data centers in the world. We serve up more mail, more photos than any other company. But that is informed by people buying ads against those services. It’s not a separate focus.”
In the case of APT, think of it as the combination of an Oracle database and an SAP system, Bartz added. “We will be adding features for the next 10 years and beyond. We’re still trying to improve ease of use and performance, as well as better visibility on what kind of content is in there. We also want to get supply and demand better matched up. That’s really what it’s about.”