Unsurprisingly, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz used Yahoo’s earnings call Tuesday to highlight lots of positives in the company’s better-than-expected financial results. Bartz, who clearly wants to counter the view that Yahoo’s turn-around efforts are lagging, ran down a list of what she said were the company’s accomplishments in 2010, including a restructuring of its operations, the hiring of new senior executives, and improved profitability. Bartz acknowledged that Yahoo’s overall revenue was still falling, but she cited the company’s double-digit increase in display ad sales as a “strong indicator of the growth we expect to see in the future.”
– What is Yahoo? Bartz has always struggled to define what Yahoo is, but she seemed to offer a new definition during her prepared remarks, saying that the company delivered “great content — news, finance, e-mail, sports and, of course, relevant ads.”
“It’s what we’re good at,” Bartz said. “We focus on the aggregation, curation of content, and we do it really well.” During his own remarks, CFO Tim Morse also referred to Yahoo’s goal of providing “increasingly personalized world-class content.”
One analyst asked whether this emphasis meant the company would now be spending more on content in order to differentiate Yahoo from competitors. Bartz responded by saying that that the goal was not to spend more but rather to be more focused.
– New data points: Bartz said that users of Yahoo Mail were 50 percent “more engaged” with the product since its overhaul in late October. She also said that engagement with the ‘Today’ module on the Yahoo home page had increased substantially since the company had begun to personalize the content it highlights there.
– Layoffs: Bartz said the company’s layoffs — including those it announced today — were necessary to “eliminate duplication” of work. She said the company’s December cuts targeted its product group, while those today impacted other groups. Asked whether more job cuts are ahead, Bartz said the company was still hiring and would end 2011 with more employees but with flat costs.