Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer appeared in her quarterly newscast today to talk up the Silicon Valley Internet giant’s second quarter today and I have to give it to her.

The well-known tech exec sure knows how to turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse. Despite turning in another dismal financial report, with revenue down and earnings flat, she tried to make amends and explain the decline.

Yahoo sales were $1.04 billion, excluding traffic acquisition costs, with earnings per share of 37 cents. Analysts had expected revenue to be $1.08 billion and earnings to be 38 cents.

Here she is:

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:18 pm

Mayer cannot pretend this quarter is good, but she gamely tried to as she went through all the shiny new things she has brought to Yahoo and how well a lot of her startup efforts were going.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:20 pm

“We’ve transformed our culture by focusing our strategy on speed and execution,” said Mayer. “We have reinvented every single major consumer product at Yahoo.”

Not fast enough, apparently.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:21 pm

Mayer acknowledged that: “Transformation is not a singular event.”

It is not. But after two years in charge, I am guessing investors might be wondering if it is a decade-long one.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:25 pm

She talked about a lot, from its mobile ad sales, noting that display and search revenue doubled in the quarter. Still, she declined to give actual numbers on this, so it is clearly small. But double is good!

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:26 pm

Mayer then moved to improvements in Yahoo Mail. “Our latest [mail app] is a testament to the abilities of our teams to be mobile first, move fast and launch products our users love.”

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:28 pm

Mayer, who never seems to let herself get down, then touted her efforts in content, including adding a series of online magazines. Today, it was Yahoo Health. 

“Our digital magazines are a driving force behind our growing display business, especially our native ad inventory,” she said. 

Sadly, not this quarter. Display is sucking wind at Yahoo.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:31 pm

She passed the baton to CFO Ken Goldman, whom I admit I ignore as he pretty much reads the quarterly press release. Let it be said that he does it charmingly, but adorable kittens could read the results and I would fall asleep.

Once it was back to Mayer, she took the unusual tack of complimenting herself for all her good work, comparing changes she has made in her two-year tenure to the crappy old Yahoo of other CEOs. 

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:32 pm

It was an interesting gambit, since THE RESULTS IN Q2 ARE CRAPPY AGAIN.

Granted, it is prettier, but the real business of the core business of Yahoo is still not showing up.  

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:33 pm

“We believe we are at parity with the market,” said Mayer, which is akin to saying she had revived the Lazarus corpse of Yahoo. 

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:34 pm

Mayer acknowledged that: “Transformation is not a singular event.”

It is not. But after two years in charge, I am guessing investors might be wondering if it is a decade-long one.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:35 pm

“We’ve transformed our culture by focusing our strategy on speed and execution,” said Mayer. “We have reinvented every single major consumer product at Yahoo.”

Not fast enough apparently.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:37 pm

“Yahoo is now a mobile first company,” she declared, saying the old Yahoo was not, and noting Yahoo had 450 million mobile active users. 

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:39 pm

Mayer then moved onto video and other topics — speaking of video, she was very chatty on this video show, though I would suggest doing this whole shebang in Vines. 

Not so lucky.

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:44 pm

Now, it was time for Q&A and the guy with the good chin takes over and took the questions. 

I suddenly felt a profound sense of deja vu, as if I had heard these questions before. The first was about how Yahoo could improve its display ad business.
Then, there was one on Alibaba Group. Mayer correctly thanked Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang for buying the stake in the Chinese Internet giant back when, as well as Alibaba’s Joe Tsai and Jack Ma. Deserved, given the cover that that ownership has given Yahoo and Mayer.
Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:44 pm

Now, it was time for Q&A and the guy with the good chin takes over and took the questions. 

I suddenly felt a profound sense of deja vu, as if I had heard these questions before. The first was about how Yahoo could improve its display ad business.

Then, there was one on Alibaba Group. Mayer correctly thanked Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang for buying the stake in the Chinese Internet giant back when, as well as Alibaba’s Joe Tsai and Jack Ma. Deserved, given the cover that that ownership has given Yahoo and Mayer.
Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:46 pm

A mobile question, but no detail about the actual numbers beyond the big one of 450 million active monthly uniques.

Next was a question about the death of the PC, on which Yahoo’s business was built. Mayer said mobile. Also mobile. Also mobile. (Quick, hide the PCs!)

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:49 pm

I was getting light-headed, as I have been gluten-free all day. Goldman was beginning to look like a donut to me. 

I snapped out of it with a question about what Yahoo can buy and whether she should turn all that Alibaba money over to the shareholders instead of handing it over to the VCs of Sand Hill Road. 

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:57 pm

I missed a whole bunch of questions, largely because these analysts never ask anything worth asking. So incremental, so small. I want the grand gesture from these dudes — and they are all dudes — but they just suck up the info the companies shovel at them and spit it back all mashed up.

Oh god, I really need a donut. 

Kara Swisher July 15, 20142:59 pm

Here is at least an interesting one about how Mayer is getting along with advertisers. “It’s been a bit of listening,” she said, noting that she and her team like all the prettifying of Yahoo she has done. 

She then outlined all the tech and data improvements that Yahoo has made to the tools it offers advertisers. 
Kara Swisher July 15, 20143:01 pm

Here is at least an interesting one about how Mayer is getting along with advertisers. “It’s been a bit of listening,” she said, noting that she and her team like all the prettifying of Yahoo she has done. 

She then outlined all the tech and data improvements that Yahoo has made to the tools it offers advertisers. Mayer sounded a little outsider her comfort zone now, using a lot of bromides that sound good but don’t say anything. 
The analysts accepted this anyway. 
Kara Swisher July 15, 20143:03 pm

Down to the last question, which was again about Alibaba and how it would sell the remaining Alibaba shares that Yahoo will still hold after the IPO. 

Sell? If not for holding, Yahoo shares would be dropping like a stone on this Q2 report.

Instead, hope floats. 




5 comments
bobtwig
bobtwig

Kara...Lazarus here, got a donut for you! Hope you like it better than the performance of the Princess of Silicon Valley.....love you, always .

mikito palo alto
mikito palo alto

A series of tweets does not an article make, madame swisher! Get off your thumbs and do that wit of yours justice in a format less tedious PLEASE

TaiwanMonkey
TaiwanMonkey

Search revenue is growing but a lot of it is junk clicks to advertisers to drive short term revenue. It is hurting the ROI of clients who will slowly move this money away. 


Asia is the biggest opportunity for any internet company and the business is in doldrums here.

elio_enidias
elio_enidias

Someone should ask why she's been selling her Yahoo stock.

AlexHammer
AlexHammer

Even if Kara never typed a word, I would still tune in for her graphics


(her pictures tell 10,000 words, not 1,000)


Nice coverage of the quarterly by the way. I appreciate Kara's honesty, insight (and humor)

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