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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer talks mobile strategy and more

In her first TV interview since taking over as Yahoo CEO, Mayer shares her thoughts about the company and the future of technology.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read
Marissa Mayer talks tech at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Switzerland.
Marissa Mayer talks tech at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Switzerland. Bloomberg/Screenshot by CNET

Yahoo may not be known as a mobile player, but CEO Marissa Mayer sees partnerships as the key to mobile success.

In her first TV interview since becoming Yahoo CEO, Mayer spoke with Bloomberg TV earlier today at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Over the course of 30 minutes, she talked about Yahoo's mobile strategy, the company's culture, and the future of technology.

A transcript released by Bloomberg to Business Insider caught some of the highlights of the interview, which reportedly attracted a huge crowd in Switzerland.

One of the questions focused on Yahoo's mobile business. How does the company compete in a technology industry where mobile is king?

"Given that we do not have mobile hardware, a mobile OS, a browser, or a social network, how are we going to compete? I think that the big piece here is that it really allows us to partner," Mayer said. "It means there is an opportunity for strong partnerships. That is what we will be focused on."

Mayer said that Yahoo already works with Apple and Google in terms of the operating system, presumably meaning that Yahoo has mobile apps for both iOS and Android. She also played up Yahoo's offerings to mobile phone users.

"So the nice thing at Yahoo is that we have all of the content that people want on their phone, we have these daily habits," Mayer said. "And I think that whenever you're dealing with a daily habit and providing a lot of value around it there is an opportunity not only to provide a lot of value to the end user but to also create a great business."

She also pointed to a "strong partnership" between Yahoo and Facebook. Rumors surfaced last November that the two might team up on search, but Facebook later dismissed those reports, according to AllThingsD.

The two did settle a patent skirmish last year, which triggered new cross-licensing agreements, an advertising partnership, and plans to collaborate on other projects.

Focusing on Yahoo itself, Mayer touted the company's strong culture.

[Yahoo] has a strong culture...I wanted to find a way to amplify it," she said. "That is how you find the energy. You can harness that into innovation and say if we have people and they are excited about what they're working on every day...you can take that energy around culture and find fun ways to apply it to engage users."

Mayer has also tried to clean house at Yahoo by shaking up some of the management staff, a move she sees as important for the company as a whole.

"I got very focused on people, building the right team, particularly the executive portion, but all throughout the business, and also the overall environment," she said". "I wanted to make sure that Yahoo is the best place to work and that people really want to come and work there. That will help the talent piece."

And what does Mayer see in her crystal ball for the future of technology?

Personalization is one area that excites her, particularly such items as image recognition, voice recognition, and translation. Technology evolving to better understand context is something she thinks will happen in the next three to five years.

"Now it is a matter of being able to take personalized notions, things like likes on Facebook, tweets, articles you click on, taking all those signals and mapping those to understand, for example, I like clean energy on Facebook and I tweet out something about green energy, that is in fact the same interest as mine," she said.

Mayer grabbed the reigns as Yahoo CEO last July and has since had a busy several months. In addition to learning the ropes at Yahoo and striving to revive the company, she gave birth to a baby boy in October.


Mayer's interview, courtesy of Bloomberg Television