In the first quarterly earnings report of the post-Terry Semel era, Yahoo! reported profits down about 2%. That was no surprise given the heads-up Yahoo provided a few weeks ago when the CEO stepped down to make way for the return of cofounder Jerry Yang in the top job. But investors, who had bid up the stock 3% before the results, were reversing course in after-hours trading, with shares down about 3% shortly after the announcement but before the conference call. More to come after that, but two things that stick out for now: Ad revenue on Yahoo’s own sites was up 18%, while revenue on affiliate sites was down 5%. Also, while international revenues were up 15%, triple the U.S. rate, operating income abroad was down 4% compared with a 6% rise in the U.S.
Update: Yahoo lowered its second-half outlook slightly, explaining why investors are bearish—despite Yang and President Sue Decker uttering the word “urgency” several times apiece. Yang also said there are “no sacred cows” when it comes to jettisoning operations that aren’t producing, and implied there would be further changes in the management ranks.
Decker said Yahoo’s seeing double-digit increases in revenue per search on Yahoo’s own properties.
OK, and about the real question: How was Jerry’s performance? Jury’s still out, I think. Despite stumbling a bit at times over a prepared statement, he sounded fairly confident. But ultimately, he will be judged not on what he says over the phone but on whether he can dig Yahoo out of its hole. And even he conceded that could take awhile.