Carol Bartz Paints Yahoo! in a Different Light

“It’s simple.” That’s the mantra new Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz kept repeating at her D7 appearance this week. It’s a message Bartz wants to get across to both her staff at Yahoo! and the media.

Bartz took to the stage at the annual All Things D conference to be interviewed by Kara Swisher. I found this to be an unusual pairing, as Swisher is constantly publishing rumors leaked by Purple People and Bartz wants to crack down on the moles leaking the info.

Swisher’s column at All Things D is a popular one, though and their opposite personalities provided for one heck of an entertaining session.

If you read news articles and blog posts about Yahoo!, you’d be tempted to think that the company is a search engine that just happens to have a few popular websites. But new CEO Carol Bartz wants you to think of Yahoo! as a whole, not just as one of its parts. And while that may seem the opposite of simplification – it isn’t.

When Bartz was asked if Yahoo! was a media or a tech company, she essentially responded with asking why there has to be a separation. She’s right. It’s as if Yahoo! was a human and everyone wants to concentrate on its foot, when it, indeed, has arms, legs, organs, a brain, etc.

This is a fact sometimes lost on Yahoo! itself. Bartz spoke about the silos Yahoo! has constructed, where the homepage division doesn’t want to send traffic to the Finance site. They want to keep the traffic for themselves. And if a company has the wrong goals for its divisions, something that creates competition instead of integration, it’s easy to see how this would happen.

Thankfully for Yahoo!, Bartz sees the whole picture. While achieving her holistic vision for Yahoo! is painful at times (i.e. recent layoffs and restructuring), Bartz seems poised to build on Yahoo!’s strengths.

Bartz reminded the audience that Yahoo! is one of the most visited sites in the world, and when people arrive, they spend a lot of time hanging out. She seeks to enhance and personalize that experience so that Yahoo! meets a variety of needs for their large, diverse audience.

Of course, one of the most-anticipated moments was Bartz was asked about the possibility of still striking a search deal with Microsoft. Bartz said the possibility was still there but that it required the right alignment of tech, goals and money. Her take was consistent with her goals for integration and streamlining Yahoo!: “It’s simple.”

Watch highlights from Kara Swisher’s interview with Carol Bartz here.
Read a summary of the interview here.
Read a Q&A with Carol Bartz on the Yahoo! blog Yodel Anecdotal here.

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