A string of Yahoo sales, engineering and product executives took the stage on Wednesday in the company’s first full-day briefing with analysts since May 2006, all with a mantra that came down from on high: “Today is the beginning of a journey back to respect,” said CEO Carol Bartz.
With page views increasing, Carl Icahn having drawn in his horns, and the company extending a deadline for finalizing a search agreement with Microsoft, the time was right for a love-in.
Finance Chief Tim Morse said Yahoo expects to achieve operating margins between 15 percent and 20 percent by 2012. After the third quarter’s “pathetic” 6 percent, shareholders would certainly consider that a more respectful performance.
Another way to show their respect would have been to give specific details on the engineering involved in the promised prestige. Executives said Yahoo would achieve the new margin targets by accelerating its revenue in the next few years, but demurred from providing a specific revenue growth target.
The company said it would invest in editorial staff to produce more original features, and tweak its online products to keep users on the site longer and boost advertising revenue.