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Yahoo to solidify Facebook ties


– Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer said she plans to focus on mobile applications and strengthening ties to Facebook Inc. as she tries to drive a turnaround at the biggest U.S. Web portal.

“A lot of the strengths of Facebook are available to Yahoo users,” Mayer said last week at an investor conference in San Francisco hosted by Goldman Sachs. “That’s something we want to build upon. We have a real commitment to bringing valuable content to our users.”

Since Mayer arrived as CEO last year, Yahoo has continued to cede share in its core business of display advertising. This year, Yahoo’s share of the U.S. market will slip to 8 percent, from 9.3 percent in 2012, according to researcher EMarketer Inc.

Google will widen its lead to 18 percent from 15 percent last year, while Facebook will advance to 15 percent from 14 percent.

To court users and advertisers, Mayer said she’ll focus on “the dozen or so applications that people use all the time on their phone.”

Turnaround efforts will target changes that can get users interacting more, and for longer periods of time, she said last month. In the same way that recent updates to the Flickr image-sharing service got users uploading 25 percent more photos, and an overhaul of Yahoo Mail resulted in a higher portion of ads being clicked, the company hopes to refresh sites such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo News, Mayer said.

To help its push for product improvements, Yahoo hired 120 new employees with computer science degrees in the fourth quarter, Mayer said. She also brought on Sandy Gould, a former recruiting executive at Walt Disney Co., to lead talent acquisition and development.