Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Preps for Investor Day Tomorrow, While Investors Prep for a Yahoo Grilling

The execs at Yahoo were huddled yesterday and also today, getting ready for its investor day tomorrow morning.

It’s probably a good idea, especially since the Silicon Valley Internet giant has to come up with a good answer to how it is settling the recent kerfuffle with Chinese partner Alibaba Group.

A settlement announcement over the spinoff of Alibaba’s Alipay payments unit would be the best thing Yahoo could deliver by tomorrow, of course.

All parties–Alibaba, Yahoo and Japan’s SoftBank–I spoke to said a resolution was still being worked on, but one assumes reaching one sooner than later would be a big coup for Yahoo.

Barring that, China will surely be Question No. 1–and likely Nos. 2 through 23–from about 200 Wall Street analysts and big shareholders gathered from 8 am to 2 pm at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose to hear about how Yahoo is doing in 2011.

Given that the China problem has kept Yahoo stock stuck in the $16 doldrums for weeks now, after it had seen some progress before that, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and the passel of top execs presenting–Ross Levinsohn, Blake Irving and Tim Morse, among others–will have to scratch that itchy itch first before moving on to other questions.

In the interests of making the day interesting–and because press is not invited–I am here to help those investors without a clue of what to ask.

Thus, my list, in no particular order:

* Now that a newish management structure is in place, what is the big vision for Yahoo going forward?

* Please explain in detail the issues raised in the recent earnings call with the search and online advertising partnership with Microsoft, and should the deal be re-negotiated?

* Do you need to make more cuts in staff–which seems to have creeped back up in size?

* Why is Yahoo still in search in such a significant and expensive way, especially since market share is declining?

* How is the display market faring and how does Yahoo plan to innovate its flagship advertising business?

* Engagement is a key metric these days, so how is Yahoo going to improve its customer relationships, besides saying it will?

* What new and innovative products are in the pipeline–and you may not trot out Livestand for the umpteenth time as an example, unless you want me to start calling it Not-Flipboard–and when will they launch?

* Has Yahoo considered other ownership options that would better reward long-suffering shareholders?

* And, oh yes, China. Let’s not forget about China.

(Although media is not invited to the investor confab, I will be covering it via a live stream Yahoo is offering–you didn’t think I would miss it?)

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle