Kara Swisher

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Liveblogging Yahoo's Bartz as CEO Announcement: Her First Words? "Yahoooo!" and "Friggin'"

Oh, BoomTown really likes Carol Bartz as Yahoo CEO already.

In Yahoo’s conference call this afternoon, she lectured everyone sternly to give Yahoo some “friggin’ breathing room” and also noted that the company “frankly, could use a little management.”

The latter is stating the very obvious, but we like hearing it anyway, and Bartz sounds like she is running the show from the get-go.

It’s like watching a digital version of “The Gladiator”!

So, here is Boomtown’s live blog of the Yahoo (YHOO) call, starring Carol Bartz as its new CEO:

2:35 pm PST:

The conference call started with Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock, who stumbled at first and called Bartz “Carl”–Icahn on the brain?–before recovering and waxing effusively about the new Yahoo CEO and former Autodesk (ADSK) head.

He also thanked outgoing Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and President Sue Decker, who is also resigning, it was announced earlier today. They are not present, it seems.

Frankly, Bostock is the one who should also be on his way out the door, given that he has also presided over Yahoo’s huge decline in market share and its myriad stumbles.

2:41 pm PST:

Bartz’s first word as CEO, of course: Yahoo!

But Bartz crisply took the bull by the horns at the start and said she will “seize the opportunity.” She sounded kind of scary, but in a good way.

She then laid out her many choices–search deal, etc.–but no decisions yet, you impatient curs!

And she calls herself a “straight shooter” in a really straight-shooter tone.

“My focus is on turning the company around,” she said flatly.

Oh, that. But, to be honest, it’s the best idea I have heard from Yahoo all year.

2:45 pm PST:

The floor is open for questions.

The first is about how she was approached and how she looks at Yahoo’s business.

December, she was intrigued, blah, blah.

Bartz then sharply raised the game, noting that Yahoo and its assets “frankly, could use a little management.”

Ouch, Jerry and Sue. A slapfest from the get-go!

She also thinks it “nonsense” to think that Yahoo was not feeling great about itself. In other words, shape up, Yahoo!

Bartz uses the word “nonsense” in that end-of-discussion way, like someone who has kids and knows a thing or two about nonsense.

End of discussion?

Not until she answers another question about Yahoo’s situation by noting that the company needs some “friggin’ breathing room” and that it’s time for all those outside the company who are endlessly yammering about what Yahoo needs to do, to shut their pie holes.

Uh-oh. Carol is not going to like pie-hole-yammering-about-Yahoo-obsessively HQ, also known as BoomTown.

I briefly consider a new career in real estate, before deciding to stay on the Yahoo CEO-stalking beat until she gives in.

A new challenge! Just when I thought the telenovela was lagging, it heats up with a new twist.

And, from the first call, it’s clear Bartz is a very new twist–a tough-talking, take-no-prisoners CEO for a company that needs one desperately.

Of course, Bartz cuts the conference short in about 15 minutes, after just three questions. (She totally did not take mine, which would have been: “Why, Carol, why?”)

She noted that she was off to a management meeting, which is much more important than chit-chatting with annoying press and analysts.

Bartz certainly has her work cut out for her, which she seems to be doing at the start with some verve and sassy punch that will hopefully reinvigorate the troubled Yahoo.

As Maximus said: “I knew a man once who said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.’”

So far, Bartz sounds like she knows how to smile.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work