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Search a Bright Spot for Yahoo, too

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Last week, Microsoft reported earnings, and announced that even amid job cuts in other areas, the company would continue to add jobs in its search business.

Tuesday, Yahoo reported earnings for Q4 and 2008, and again search was noted as a bright spot in otherwise weak quarter.

Search revenue for "owned & operated" sites came in at $436 million, up 11 percent year-over-year. U.S. search revenues were up about 17 percent. Query volume was up 10 percent, while revenue per search grew in the “mid-single digits."

The company reported overall revenue of $1.8 billion in Q4 2008, a 1 percent drop compared to Q4 2007. Marketing services revenue totaled $1.6 billion in Q4. Yahoo also reported full year results; revenue totaled $7.2 billion in 2008, up 3 percent over 2007.

During the quarter, Yahoo incurred $108 million in restructuring costs, a $488 million write-down of its international business, and $7 million in legal and advisory fees related to the proposed Microsoft and Google deals.
Not counting those charges, Yahoo would have met analyst expectations with $238 million in net income, or $0.17 per share. That's up from $184 million, or $0.13 per share, for Q4 2007. With those charges, Yahoo reported a net loss of $303 million, or $0.22 per share.

During the call, new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz assured analysts she was not hired to sell the company, that she h"didn’t arrive with preconceived notions about anything," in regards to selling the search business, although "everything's on the table."

“Whether we keep it or sell it, search is important to this company and it’s important to build it up,” Bartz said.


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