Yahoo! could be making just millions a year from mobile [report]

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Ever since ex-Googler Marissa Mayer took over at Yahoo!, the CEO has been vocal about her vision for the ailing internet company, explaining how the future would be all about mobile, personalised content, mobile, strategic partnerships and, well, mobile. In the past few months, she oversaw the launch of redesigned Mail and Flickr apps, revealed that the company would be cutting down on its large app suite to focus on just a dozen key ones and announced plans to give all her employees a free high-end smartphone so they can experience the same type of devices their users own. But a new report suggests just how much Yahoo! really needs to get its mobile issues sorted… and soon.

According to All Things D, the company, which brought in US$4.4-billion in revenue in 2012, makes around US$125-million direct revenue annually from its 200-million daily active mobile users.

If that figure is correct, then Yahoo!’s mobile figures are considerably less impressive than those of other tech companies — even the one that’s always being hounded about its ‘mobile problem’: Facebook made 23% of its US$1.33-billion in advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 from mobile. Even though it does have more than three times the user base, that’s still around US$305-million in revenue from its 618-million daily active users… in three months, against Yahoo!’s reported US$125-million a year.

Mayer has acknowledged that Yahoo!’s mobile aspirations would involve an uphill battle, considering how many of its competitors are already gaining ground in everything from apps to tablets. Speaking to Bloomberg recently, she summed up concerns succinctly, saying “Given that we do not have mobile hardware, a mobile OS, a browser or a social network, how are we going to compete?”

Judging from the company’s recent actions, the answer seems to involve acquisitions, a push into mobile monetization and getting Yahoo!’s search ads to target and work on every mobile device it possibly can. Since the end of last year, the company has been on a mini acquisition spree, buying out mobile recommendations app Stamped, video chat broadcasting app OnTheAir and the team behind the location discovery app Alike. It’s also set up a partnership with Google to bring smarter contextual advertising to its many different platforms.

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