Marissa Mayer's priority: Fixing Yahoo search, e-mail -- WSJ

The new Yahoo CEO is also reportedly looking to acquire popular "platforms" such as social networking and mobile integration, a la Facebook's recent Instagram buy.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer James Martin/CNET

New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer isn't yet ready to unveil her strategic plan for the company's future, but she's already setting some wheels into motion, according to a new report.

Mayer's first order of business is to improve Yahoo's search and e-mail, according to the Wall Street Journal. She is reportedly holding meetings with Yahoo product leaders to determine why the company is losing market share in search -- it fell to 13 percent in June from 15.9 percent last year, according to ComScore -- and how it can bolster Yahoo Mail to maintain its user base.

This isn't the first time we've heard that Mayer is looking to improve Yahoo's core products. Last month, one source told All Things Digital's Kara Swisher that under Mayer, Yahoo is "becoming a technology company again," adding that her focus is on "platforms and products."

Mayer also appears to be worried about morale. Last month, she ordered Yahoo's URLs Cafe, at the company's Sunnyvale headquarters, offer all food for free, and requested changes to employee work areas to make them more "collaborative and cool." According to the Journal, she has also taken Yahoo's stock symbol off the company's internal page in an attempt to keep employees from getting distracted by share fluctuations. (Good luck with that.)

Mayer took over for interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who has since left Yahoo. Prior to that, Yahoo hired Scott Thompson, who left after it was discovered that his resume inaccurately claimed that he had earned a computer science degree. Last year, Carol Bartz was fired from the CEO post after the Yahoo board took issue with her job performance.

The Journal's sources say that Yahoo's board promised Mayer several years to turn things around, especially in the company's ailing advertising operation.

Mayer, who was one of Google's first employees, is also holding discussions with former and current Google executives. She's also eyeing acquisitions of companies that are currently operating in rapidly growing market segments, including mobile and social networking.

Whatever Mayer decides to do, she'll have to figure something out soon. Last year, Yahoo generated $5 billion in revenue, down significantly from the $6.3 billion the company posted in 2010. And although Yahoo was able to secure a $1 billion profit, that was down from the $1.2 billion it made in the prior year.

CNET has contacted Yahoo for comment on the Journal's report. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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