Yahoo Inc is overhauling its website to incorporate features familiar to
Facebook users such as a newsfeed and people's "likes," in CEO Marissa
Mayer's biggest product revamp since taking the helm of the ailing
company last year.
Mayer, who took over in July after a procession of
CEOs was shown the door, said in a blog post on Wednesday that Yahoo's
redesigned website will let users log in with their Facebook IDs to gain
access to content and information shared by friends - from articles and
videos to birthdays.
Yahoo is one of the world's most-visited
online properties, but revenue has declined in recent years amid
competition from Google Inc and Facebook Inc.
The changes to
Yahoo's Internet shop window, which include a more streamlined mobile
application for smartphones and tablets, will be rolled out over coming
days. The makeover follows a new version of Yahoo mail, one of its most
popular applications, introduced in December.
Analysts say the
move marks a strengthening of Yahoo's ties with Facebook, employing some
of the social network's growing data on its billion-plus users to
battle Google for Web users' attention. It remains to be seen whether
the initial makeover and tweaks expected over time will win back its
"This is definitely an important step. The
Yahoo home page is one of the most important things because it is the
first interface," said B. Riley Caris analyst Sameet Sinha. "It's
familiar in terms of layout, the newsfeed is interesting, and it will be
interesting to see how it develops over time.
"The key will be how data is aggregated within Yahoo and Facebook."
months into her tenure, former Google executive Mayer has arrested the
decline of the Internet portal and won favor on Wall Street with stock
buybacks among other things. But Yahoo's forecast of a modest revenue
uptick this year still pales in comparison with the growth of rivals
like Google and Facebook, which are eating into its advertising market
"We wanted it to be familiar but also wanted it to embrace
some of the modern paradigms of the Web," Mayer said of the product
revamp on NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday.
"One thing that I really like is this very personalized newsfeed; it's infinite and you can go on scrolling forever," she said.
other problems, Yahoo has been plagued by internal turmoil that has
resulted in a revolving door of CEOs. Mayer, 37, took over after a
tumultuous period during which former CEO Scott Thompson resigned after
less than six months on the job over a controversy about his academic
credentials. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang then resigned from the board
and cut ties with the company.
Thompson's predecessor, the
controversial and outspoken Carol Bartz, was fired over the phone for
failing to deliver on growth. Yahoo's 2012 revenue was $5 billion. It
has been flat year over year, off from some $6.3 billion in 2010.
Yahoo shares were down 0.3 percent at $21.22 at midday on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
© Thomson Reuters 2013