Marissa Mayer announces deals with Oracle, Katie Couric at Yahoo’s annual meeting

Yahoo has partnered with Oracle to be the default search engine for Java, and has also signed a deal to keep Katie Couric on as its star news anchor, CEO Marissa Mayer revealed at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.

The Oracle deal means Yahoo will be the default search for anyone who downloads Java software tools onto a personal computer. An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment about the partnership.

Mayer also said a deal inked late last year to be the default search engine for Mozilla’s Firefox browser has been “profitable” for Yahoo, but she didn’t specify the cost of any of the deals. Couric’s renegotiated contract was reportedly worth $10 million, the New York Post reported before the contract was signed.

Investors during the meeting voted to re-elect all of Yahoo’s board members, avoiding for at least another year the revolt that had been threatened before the company in January said it would spin back to shareholders its huge assets in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Investors also on Wednesday rejected two proposals by individual shareholders, one of which would have forced to company to set up a human rights committee.

Mayer gave shareholders an update on Yahoo products and the company’s direction during the meeting and in a letter submitted to shareholders before the meeting. Among the demonstrated products were some new mobile search algorithms Mayer said have been in place since mid-May that help direct smartphone users to experiences, destinations (such as the closest cinema playing a certain movie), and things to buy related to whatever terms they search for.

Mayer faced questions from investors on mostly minor issues, such as why the “underline” function was deleted from Yahoo Mail and from a mother who complained her “teenage kids make fun of me” for using the Sunnyvale Web pioneer’s products. She was also asked by one investor to define what Yahoo does.

“Google is known for search, Facebook is known for social networks,” the investor said.

Mayer was quick to answer.

“Our core focus is to be the guide,” Mayer said, recalling the company’s origin as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” but noting that she wanted to advance that portal to someday guide Internet users watching TV or in their cars.

“We think the best years for the company are still ahead of us,” she said.

Yahoo banned press from the meeting at a Santa Clara hotel, per a longstanding practice that precedes Mayer’s tenure, but it was live-streamed online.

Above: Screenshot of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer speaking at Wednesday’s annual Yahoo shareholder meeting.


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