Yahoo! is trying to reinvent itself. The company’s recent hiring of ex-Googler Marissa Mayer has brought in a culture change in the ailing firm. While Yahoo! has positioned itself as a media portal for so long now, Mayer is trying to bring Yahoo! back to its tech-oriented roots.
In Yahoo!’s third-quarter earnings conference call, Mayer said the company needs to refocus its energies on mobile, which is today’s emerging trend in content consumption. However, she admits Yahoo! is at a disadvantage when it comes to platform. For example, its bigger competitors like Google, Apple and Microsoft run their own mobile operating systems.
Yahoo!’s disadvantage is that it doesn’t even run its own mobile OS. However, Mayer does admit that this is not their core competency, and therefore it does not make sense for Yahoo! to compete in a business where it does not have much experience.
However, Yahoo! will need to focus on mobile in order to get itself back on track as a relevant company for consumers. The CEO says users typically use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to check email, share photos, and check stocks and weather information — all of which Yahoo! has services for. It’s a matter of offering these applications with a user experience and interface that end users will appreciate. In this regard, the company will start addressing the mobile gap by bringing in more engineers, designers and product managers to pursue the company’s mobile strategy.
As such, while we won’t see a Yahoo! OS soon, we will likely to see an improvement in how Yahoo! offers its content to a mobile audience. But will Yahoo! be able to differentiate itself from its competitors? Is Yahoo! right in betting on mobile for its comeback, but without launching its own native platform?
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if yahoo wants to be seen as something other than just a Yahoo, they should do the obvious, and create a series of Yahoo apps that work on [carefully pick a platform here] – let’s say Android (or all of them; good choice), offering a whole series of the things they are good at, while using an existing platform to deliver their services.
One useful thing would be to unifiy the design and appearance of all their services. Flikr, News, Mail, etc. all suffer from different designs inherited from the past. While you need a common ID to sign in to them all the appearance and unification is far from complete.
Oh and Yahoo!, stop releasing US only products. If you want to be a global player, think globally and ensure Europe, Asia and Africa all have access to the same software and apps.