Marissa Mayer wants Yahoo to be a mobile-first company
“We don’t think of ourselves as design-first, we think of ourselves as mobile-first”. – Marissa Mayer
Speaking with Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, Yahoo CEO and President, Marissa Mayer, made it clear that the company was focusing on its mobile applications with the vision of becoming the most successful mobile-friendly company in the world. She reiterated that Yahoo’s online presence and the ongoing improvements to its interface and bringing in revenue through new acquisitions would remain a high priority, but consistently emphasized the fact that her personal focus would be on re-invention though the development of mobile service applications and services.
Upon assuming the position of CEO in 2012, Mayer stated that she was shocked to note that the mobile application development unit of the company was understaffed, with only 60 employees who dedicated their jobs to improving the company’s mobile interface while adding features to its existing, and most consistently used applications. She brought forward her role in first, re-aligning the company’s objectives and factoring in the need to redesign the in-house team of mobile development experts. She then went on to facilitate a platform shift from designing applications for computers, to applications which could be accessed by mobile devices. By mobile devices, one is not merely restricting ones focus to mobile phones, but also including similar devices such as digital tablets, which are swiftly overtaking laptops as the preferred mobile working and entertainment device. With other large market players such as Apple making their applications easy to use on a number of mobile devices, it is only a matter of time before Yahoo makes its presence felt with a similar offering of applications and services. Mayer’s work experience with giants such as Google, have provided her with valuable experience and insight into sustainability, and she is aware of the significant shift from desktop applications to mobile applications, and the need to develop new software and services accordingly. One can expect a number of new office applications, editing tools, single and multiplayer games, photo editing tools, among a wide range of Yahoo services. In order to bring in much needed revenue for the company, Mayer will also strike a balance between free and paid applications, thus following a trend which is commonly followed by software and application development companies. A user has the option to use the free service, or will need to pay a one-time or monthly subscription for the full service. It remains to be seen if the latest and freshest offerings from Yahoo’s mobile application development team will create applications that one would pay money in order to use. The competition from rival companies which have already gained a strong foothold among mobile application users is stiff.
Leading Yahoo into the mobile-first arena is a challenge to its 38-year old CEO; however her initial steps forward have been widely praised. She has constantly made efforts to infuse innovative thinking and an interactive approach towards rejuvenating the company, and it is predicted that the influx of young talent via her recent acquisitions of creative start-ups will result in a number of exciting and potentially viral, i.e. successful applications and services from Yahoo in time to come.