TECH TRENDS

The Australian - The Deal - - Firstup - Ian Grayson

Ask the aver­age in­ter­net user to de­scribe what Ya­hoo! is and they might strug­gle. Since start­ing life as a search engine in the mid-1990s, the web gi­ant has evolved and ex­panded to in­cor­po­rate ev­ery­thing from email and chat to news, photo shar­ing and games.

Along the way it lost fo­cus. Faced with in­tense com­pe­ti­tion from ri­vals such as Google, its multi- pronged ap­proach re­sulted in a lack of clear di­rec­tion and a loss of mar­ket share.

Now high-pro­file chief ex­ec­u­tive Marissa Mayer has made it her mis­sion to put the com­pany back on track. Since join­ing from Google in July last year, she’s shaken up the cor­po­rate cul­ture and made tar­geted ac­qui­si­tions.

One of Mayer’s first moves was to ban telecom­mut­ing. Other changes have in­cluded the re­launch of the once pop­u­lar photo-shar­ing ser­vice Flickr and the sur­prise $US1.1 bil­lion pur­chase of the mi­cro- blog­ging site Tum­blr.

Mayer’s un­der­stand­ing of the web and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, stem­ming from her 13 years at Google, means she’s well placed to re­fo­cus Ya­hoo! and guide the com­pany back to be­ing an in­ter­net pow­er­house. The next 12 months will re­veal whether her ap­proach is cor­rect.

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