Well, that was pretty thrilling. Today we learned that Yahoo’s sale of Alibaba is still on track. Meanwhile, its search alliance with Microsoft continues to underperform. Oh, and CFO Tim Morse is pretty excited about the Olympics!
Wait, is that not what you wanted to hear about? In that case, the earnings call was probably a snoozefest.
To be fair, with a few exceptions (like Apple), these calls tend to be pretty focused on the numbers. Even when the famously brash Carol Bartz was CEO, her earnings comments usually stuck closely to bland talking points. And Yahoo PR warned us that new CEO Marissa Mayer wouldn’t be joining the call. If she had joined, it’s her first day on the job, so she probably wouldn’t have been able to offer very much insight.
And yet, even keeping all of that in mind, today’s earnings call was still impressively dull, at least from a journalistic perspective. At the beginning, Morse sounded apologetic when he explained that he wouldn’t be able to answer many of the questions that analysts would want to ask, and as a result, the questions stuck very closely to the minutiae — perhaps analysts didn’t want to waste a question if it was only going to get an “I can’t answer that” response.
Morse also said it was premature to offer any guidance on the company’s third quarter, since the results will presumably depend on what Mayer does in her new role. The closest he came to talking about the company’s larger strategy came after a question about the rationale behind Mayer’s appointment and whether it reflects a commitment to product and technology over content. Morse started out by saying that Mayer’s resume “speaks for itself,” then added, “I think it’s safe to say we need to be really good at certain technologies and we need to be great at content. Both of those are imperative to our success.”
Another analyst asked whether Mayer might be speaking to the investment community sometime before the next earnings call. After all, Morse had said he was sure that “you’ll be hearing from her soon.” So … when is soon?
“I honestly just don’t know,” he said.