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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

February 23, 2010 at 2:38 PM

GSC: Microsoft to start paying Yahoo before April

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo Executive Vice President Hilary Schneider did a session during the Goldman Sachs technology investors conference at lunch Tuesday.

Schneider was one of the first women executives invited on stage at a conference where men outnumber women 10 to 1. The gender ratio here is running neck and neck with a Microsoft developers conference.

Here are some highlights on her comments about the Microsoft-Yahoo search partnership, the “It’s You” branding campaign and how local content is the “new digital crack.”

  • Microsoft will begin paying Yahoo license fees for its search technology during the first quarter of the 2010 calendar year. (Microsoft’s fiscal year begins in July.) “We had originally thought that would happen in Q2. That will start in Q1,” Schneider said.

  • On the expensive It’s You branding campaign Yahoo began in the fall: “It was really about re-establishing the Yahoo brand. We had felt a decline in brand health,” she said.

  • Yahoo is also going to change how it displays search results. The company is “moving away from 10 good links to an integrated search discovery,” Schneider said. This is an area where Microsoft’s search engine Bing has also been working to differentiate itself from Google’s search results.

  • On the benefits of the Microsoft-Yahoo partnership : “One is the extreme focus it brings for Yahoo. By essentially doing this alliance with Microsoft and exiting the back-end business on algorithmic and search advertising, it frees up tremendous resources to double down on the areas we’re going to invest in, which is really the consumer experience,” Schneider said, repeating a point that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has made several times.

  • Schneider called local content “the new digital crack.” She also talked up Yahoo’s partnership with newspapers, which she said had generated $100 million in sales that went to the news partners and 50 million Web referrals a months to those news sites.

Schneider cracked some jokes about the “hard questions” institutional investors at the conference are asking. The questions are multi-part, but otherwise are mostly softballs. Press are not allowed to ask questions during the audience Q&A at the conference.

Here is a link to the archived Webcast.

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