Under pressure from frustrated investors, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz started off her company’s earnings call this afternoon by defending her tenure at the company so far, listing off eight accomplishments, including “bringing down operating costs,” overhauling Yahoo Mail and Messenger, and divesting non-core assets. Responding to concerns about a spate of executive departures, Bartz said that “one byproduct of change is always movement of people.”
Bartz said the company was focused on two main goals: Reinvigorating revenue growth and increasing profitability. She said the company had already more than doubled its operating margins and that revenue growth was on the way. “First you walk, then you run, and then you slide,” she said. “Once you get the right things in place, we can really fly.”
Bartz said, for instance, that the company’s revenue had not grown as much as it might have otherwise because of the transition to Microsoft’s search-ad technology, which meant that some advertisers had temporarily held back. In fact, later in the call, she described search revenue as the “main drag” on the company’s growth. So, when will that turn around? Bartz mentioned the “end of 2011,” “2012” as an estimate for when the company’s search-ad sales might stabilize.
The company’s page views fell off 4 percent during the quarter, but Bartz said once again that engagement with the company’s sites would improve over time, saying that a new platform will allow the company’s content to be much more “interactive.” She cited the company’s Upshot blog as an example of a successful new effort, noting that it had generated 80 million page views in the six months since it had launched.
Asked about reports that private equity firms and possibly AOL (NYSE: AOL) are interesting in making a bid for the company, Bartz said she would not comment. “We like our strategy, we like our progress and that’s what we’re focused on.”