Updated from 11:57 a.m. EDT
recovery starts at home -- the home page, that is.
A year ago, Yahoo! was getting crushed by
and fending off a hostile takeover by
. Today, Google's got troubles of its own and Microsoft has beaten a retreat. Now, Yahoo!'s is looking like it has a shot at a comeback, and there's a hint that a new home page may win some fans.
Yahoo! gained some praise from a few analysts this week, including Mark Mahaney at Citi and Sandeep Aggarwal at Collins Stewart, who point to signs that the Internet shop is getting back on its feet.
Here's the fundamental gist of it:
Online advertising isn't deteriorating as rapidly as it did during the early panic of the credit crisis.
Google, while still dominant in search with more than 60% of the market, isn't gaining new ground. That's at least a key to stability for Yahoo.
CEO Carol Bartz has appointed a new team as part of a broad restructuring plan.
That's the stuff behind the scenes, so what's upfront?
Judging from sneak peeks of Yahoo!'s new homepage, which is expected to be introduced later this year, the Web giant has taken a little cue from smartphones. Along the left side of the new Yahoo! homepage is an important new feature: an applications bar.
Yahoo's! App-tastic home page.
In an effort to keep users on its home page, Yahoo! will feature mini applications that users can buy or chose for their home pages, much the same way
iPhone users or
Research In Motion
BlackBerry users can run apps on their phones.
Yahoo! users can run
applications that keep them updated on new posts without leaving Yahoo!. Similarly, users can run weather or stock market widgets, manage Web mailboxes, or shop for other application modules, as they are called.
Previous Yahoo! home pages have been
, but Citi's Mahaney is among the first Wall Street analysts to point out not only the stickiness of a Net application hosting page, but the potential for a new sales avenue.
"The extent that Yahoo! is able to serve as a large platform for applications (free and paid), is able to highlight relevant applications to its users, and is able to make the purchase of the paid applications seamless," Mahaney writes, "there is a potentially significant new revenue opportunity here for Yahoo!"
Yahoo! shares were recently losing 2.1% at $16.06.