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Yahoo! boss Carol Bartz popped a few champagne corks with reporters yesterday to celebrate the struggling web firm’s 15th birthday, and at the same time admitted that a turnaround could take years.

Bartz, who has been at Yahoo! for nearly 14 months, has a four-year contract with the company. It expires in 2013 by which time she’ll be hoping for “magic” to have returned to Sunnyvale.

The Yahoo! chief wanted to remind investors that it took Steve Jobs years to resurrect Apple after he returned to Cupertino in 1997. She said the turnaround there only happened after the iPod was unveiled by Jobs in late 2001, according to the Associated Press.

Whether that means Bartz is hoping to achieve the “CEO of the decade” accolade bestowed upon the Apple boss late last year, remains to be seen. After all, it would take a much bigger miracle, some might argue, for Bartz to turn fortunes around at Yahoo!

She said that Jobs "knew the DNA [at Apple] better than anyone and it took him four years.

"I know people want to see magic things happen [at Yahoo!]. The magic things happening are deep inside our little system here."

However, while Yahoo!’s stock price has climbed some 30 per cent during Bartz’s CEO tenure despite sluggish sales and profits, the company’s efforts to compete with the likes of Facebook aren’t panning out as well as Bartz might have hoped.

She admitted to reporters yesterday that the $100m marketing campaign around Yahoo!’s overhauled homepage and online estate hadn’t performed well in the US, even though it had done an OK job further afield in the UK and France.

But when asked by CNBC news why Yahoo!'s social networking effort wasn’t down-wid-da-kids like Facebook, she retorted: "Remind me, what's their revenue?"

On the subject of which, some bloggers have been speculating over the past 24 hours about how the world’s favourite stalking website might be about to bring home the $1bn bacon for Web2.0rhea poster boydroid Mark Zuckerberg. ®

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