In Yahoo’s earnings call, CFO Tim Morse did not diverge much from his prepared script based on numbers from Q2. And when asked about when new CEO Marissa Mayer might be making her first appearance before analysts and investors, he simply replied, “I don’t know.” But he did take a question near the end that shed a little light on where it is standing today with mobile.
He noted that mobile revenues at Yahoo are up by 50 percent on last year — although he also noted that this was from a “small base.”
He did not break out any specific figures.
Morse also said that Axis, its new browser/search app launched in May, has so far been proving popular on the iPad. Again no stats on usage or downloads. Axis lets a user perform searches in a browser with the results popping up on the page you are visiting, without having to navigate away from it. That’s a useful service on mobile, where all that navigating can prove
And did you know that Yahoo has not one but two people leading its mobile effort now? They are Kevin Doerr, Yahoo’s VP of innovation; and Mike Kerns, VP of personalization and social at Yahoo (he joined through Yahoo’s acquisition of Citizen Sports in 2010).
Morse says they’ve “just promoted” the two of them. So unless Doerr’s and Kerns’ job titles are changing, it sounds like mobile is being wrapped up with other services. That’s a possible play at convergence and what Morse calls a “seamless experience” across different screens; but also a possible sign that mobile doesn’t really have a dedicated champion at the company.
Morse said that content deals with the likes of ABC News and Spotify (among others) will play into that seamless experience, although for now that work has been optimised for PC, not mobile. In other words, there may be more to come but it’s not there yet. “We realize we need to bring those different strands into a coherent idea,” he admitted.
That could also include the launch of Zed, which we understand to be like the web version of Livestand — the app that was killed in May. Zed may ship in the next few months, we’ve heard.
The mobile aspect of Yahoo’s operations once held a lot of promise, although it failed to follow through on some of the early leads it had made in the space, and more recently has been very half-hearted in its approach. There is still a lot of opportunity, though, as we pointed out earlier.