Benjamin Reeves | March 1 2013 3:34 EST
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) made a small but potentially telling change in its 10-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), published Friday. In the report, Yahoo! calls itself "a global technology company focused on making the world's daily habits inspiring and entertaining," a drastic change compared to its language in reports from previous years which called Yahoo! "a premier digital media company."
Yahoo!'s shift from being a "digital media company" to a "technology company" may be an indication of new directions for the company under the leadership of its fresh-faced CEO and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) alumna Marissa Mayer. The evolution of the internet has been hard for Yahoo!, a company that's as close to being a legacy venture as is possible in terms of the web. Yahoo! cut its teeth as a portal serving up links to outside content and manufacturing some internal news content as well, particularly in the realms of sports and automotive reporting.
The change in the company's 10-K language may indicate a new focus on, predictably, technology and innovation rather than content creation and curation, following in the footsteps of Yahoo!'s main competitor, Google. While Yahoo!'s home page is larded with links to internal articles (a recent top story produced internally at Yahoo!, "Woman Tracked Down and Busted for Using Restaurant's Customers-Only Bathroom"), Google only displays a search bar. Moreover, Google offers a myriad of other technical tools from Google docs to the Nexus smartphone and tablet.
Yahoo! clearly has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to catch Google in terms of its technical offerings, but with the internet portal business model becoming increasing outmoded, the change is a necessity. Mayer had an option when she took over the company to either commit completely to being a media company, or completely to being a tech company. If the changed language in the 10-K filing is any indication, she's chosen a technological route for Yahoo! While the risk may be higher with that path, the potential for rebirth at Yahoo! may be much greater with a return to its roots as a technology company.
In late-afternoon trading Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) shares were up 2.82 percent, 60 cents, to $21.91. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) shares rose 0.61 percent, $4.92, to $806.12.
Yahoo! Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer speaks at an unknown event, 2011. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.