Yahoo Unveils Mail, Weather Apps as Mobile Users Grow

Yahoo! Inc. unveiled applications for checking e-mail on tablet computers and tracking weather forecasts on smartphones, as the largest U.S. Internet portal seeks to bring more users of its Web services to mobile devices.

Yahoo Mail for iPads and Yahoo Weather for iPhones will be available via Apple Inc.’s App Store starting today, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in a blog post. A mail program for tablets running Google Inc.’s Android mobile-operating system is also available from today.

Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer is investing in mobile software as she attempts to restore growth to the struggling Internet pioneer. Already, improvements to its apps such as Flickr helped the company top 300 million monthly mobile users, up from just 200 million at the end of the last year, said Lee Parry, senior director for mobile and emerging products at Yahoo.

“That number, a lot of that has come with the fact that Marissa has a laser focus on the user,” Parry said in an interview. Mayer aims to take Yahoo’s existing audience and “turn them into habitual users of our products and services,” he said.

The e-mail apps, Yahoo’s first for tablets, encourage users to perform a “triage” of their inbox by swiping messages into groups organized by sender. The weather program features photos taken by Flickr users, linked to the location and time of day.

Mayer’s Turnaround

An updated version of Flickr, released in December, has enticed users to upload 50 percent more photos, Parry said. Revamped mail apps for mobile phones released the same month resulted in a 50 percent increase in daily users, he said.

Mayer’s turnaround efforts faced setbacks this week, after the company issued a second-quarter sales forecast that may fall short of analyst estimates. Revenue in the current quarter, excluding money passed to partner sites, will be as much as $1.09 billion. Analysts on average had projected revenue of $1.11 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Yahoo’s shares fell 1.9 percent to $23.26 at the close in New York. The stock has advanced 17 percent this year, compared with an 8.1 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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