When the blurb flew into our inbox on Monday, saying that “Yahoo had hired a new CEO,” two thoughts went through our mind: “finally,” and “so what?” Time will tell, but we may have been very wrong to dismiss the hire so quickly.
Yahoo has hired Google’s Marissa Mayer to head up the company as president and chief executive. She also gets a seat on the board, and resigned from Google on Monday afternoon.
Mayer was employee No. 20 at Google. For years she was responsible for the look and feel of some of Google’s most popular products, including the famously simplistic white search homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. In late 2010, Mayer was made vice president of the Google’s local, maps, and location services. In 2011, though, Google promoted Jeff Huber to the position of senior vice president of local and commerce, placing him one level above Mayer.
At the time, some wondered how she would feel about the reorganization.
As we said, when we first heard about a new CEO at Yahoo, we thought “bleh.” After hearing it was Mayer, we thought differently. That’s not to say that Mayer will be a cure-all for Yahoo. However, she might be able to make a difference.
First things first, Yahoo still has more than 700 million users. What is also has is products that lage behind those of Google and even Microsoft. Have you looked at Yahoo Mail and compared it to Gmail or Hotmail? It’s so bad in comparison that there is no comparison.
This isn’t something that she can come in on Tuesday and change immediately, though. The New York Times, which first reported the move, said:
“As she hashes out Yahoo’s strategy, Ms. Mayer said she was intent on leveraging the Internet company’s strong franchises including e-mail, finance and sports. She also hopes to do more with its video broadband and its mobile businesses.
Still, Ms. Mayer is unlikely to try to make Yahoo a direct competitor to Google in the world of search. In 2009, Yahoo gave up its search engine and partnered with Microsoft, which was seen by some analysts as a concession that it couldn’t compete.
‘I actually think the partnership has been a positive for the company,’ she said.”
Mayer also said the following, in a statement in Yahoo’s press release:
“Yahoo’s products will continue to enhance our partnerships with advertisers, technology and media companies, while inspiring and delighting our users. There is a lot to do and I can’t wait to get started.”
For those of us who used to use Yahoo products, and who wouldn’t mind somewhat of a resurgence, we say that we can’t wait for her to get started, either.