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Microsoft-Yahoo: Bartz to Ballmer: 'Don't Hold Your Breath'

"This is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens."

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, there all of eight days and already sounding a bit like her predecessor, the company’s eminence grise, Jerry Yang, said Tuesday that “I didn’t come here to sell the company.” The occasion was her first post-earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts.

She didn’t exactly rule out selling off some operations, like maybe Yahoo’s search advertising. “Everything is on the table,” she said at one point. “But…this is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens.”

Unlike Yang and company, Bartz indicated she’s willing to look at any “interesting” deals – but she tried to quash expectations of an immediate (note immediate) search deal with the eager Microsoft.

“I did not arrive here with preconceived notions about anything,” she said. I’m still learning about the business, and our integrated search and display model….Search is a very valuable part of our business, understanding the intent and goals of our users as they seek information online is extremely useful to our franchise in many ways.”

But she’s thought about it and found that “There are many different parts to search – some are easier to break apart, some aren’t.”

She also demurred presenting a plan, saying she needed more time to talk to other Yahoos.

But at least she did describe what she thinks Yahoo is or should be: “I think,” she said, “the Yahoo brand needs to stand for the best information site on the Internet, the front page you walk through when you decide how you’re going to start your day and manage your day…” She also figures Yahoo can serve all demographics even the Facebook set.

Yahoo, which so desperately needs a plan, lost $303 million, 22 cents a share, in the fourth quarter on gross revenues down 1% to $1.8 billion because of restructuring and the soured valuation of its overseas properties.

However, although its net revenue was down 2% to $1.38 billion, absent the $603 million charge it took, its operating profit was up from 13 cents a share to 17 cents, better than Wall Street expected.

It’s projecting revenues will decline this quarter 5%-16% (ouch!) and come in somewhere between $1.53 billion and $1.73 billion with earnings shrinking to $365 million-$415 million, way less than the $475 million expected.

Display advertising isn’t cutting it right now. Advertisers are going for so-called performance ads where results are more measurable.

 

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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