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And Yahoo! apps face cull (yes, Yahoo! has apps)

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Yahoo! chief exec Marissa Mayer has complained that cosying up to Microsoft to use its Bing search engine hasn't given her company the market share or money she was hoping for.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco - her first investor gathering appearance since she took over at Yahoo! in July - Mayer said again that she was still focussed on her web biz's online services.

"I'm not confused. Our biggest business problem right now is impressions. Basically can we grow impressions, can we get growth happening here," Reuters, the Financial Times and others reported her as saying.

In 2010 Microsoft and Yahoo! signed on the dotted line for a ten-year collaboration to provide a web search system and chisel some market share from Google's vice-like grip. The combined power of the partnership was supposed to help Yahoo!'s cash-flow by bagging it more users and thus allowing it to shift more ads for more money.

"One of the points of the alliance is that we collectively want to grow share, rather than just trading share with each other," she said. "We need to see monetisation working better because we know that it can and we've seen other competitors in the space illustrate how well it can work. We’ve seen some gains [in monetisation] but we need to see more."

Mayer also said that she wanted Yahoo! to do better with mobile apps and slash its portfolio of 75 apps today to between 12 and 15 more focussed ones.

“Each user will hopefully have the two to four apps that matter most to them,” she said. “We want to make sure we have enough applications to fulfil that single-purpose need. We don’t want to overload people by making them download too many apps.”

She also said that she wasn't keen on selling off the firm's stake in Yahoo! Japan - a joint venture with Softbank; it's one of the assets that was frequently said to be up for grabs before Mayer came onboard, when the company's revenue and share price were suffering.

Since Mayer took over, Yahoo! stock has gained more than 30 per cent, partially driven by the company's own share buying using some of the $7.6bn it netted when it sold half of its stake in Chinese internet firm Alibaba. Investors also seem calmer under Mayer's chieftaincy than any of the quick procession of her predecessors. For the full year 2012, the company banked a net income of $3.9bn, up on the previous year's $1bn [PDF]. ®

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