Yahoo ex-CEO Marissa Mayer backs away from reported Gmail comment

Reports that Marissa Mayer, freshly resigned as Yahoo CEO, was looking forward to using former arch-rival Google’s Gmail provoked her to respond, and respond again.

A day after she resigned June 13 when the company’s $4.5 billion sale to Verizon closed, Mayer took to Twitter following a media report that cited tweets suggesting she had an affinity for the mail service of the company that played a key role in the demise of Yahoo.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Gmail,” was her comment, according to one tweet from a London conference.

“I look forward to using Gmail again. Am always faster when using a tool I designed myself,” said the other tweet referenced in a Business Insider UK article.

In her first Twitter response, Mayer, a former Google executive, linked to the article and tweeted, “I will continue to use the excellent Yahoo Mail too. The team’s hard work paid off with a dramatically better product.”

However, Mayer soon changed her tune a bit on the report she linked to and her reference to Gmail.

Linking to the article again, she tweeted, “This out-of-context comment was about Gmail’s design and how it has evolved since my work in the early days.”

Whether Mayer actually designed Gmail as the second tweet suggested is subject to conflicting reports, and it could not be confirmed that she in fact claimed that accomplishment. In 2012, NPR reported that Mayer “developed Gmail.”

But Vanity Fair in 2014 reported that Mayer “was not on the three-person team that developed Gmail.”

However, by the time Gmail launched in 2004, there were a dozen people working on it, according to Time magazine. And Mayer had more than two years previously told Brian Rakowski, who would become the first Gmail product manager, about the Gmail service that was under development, according to the magazine.

A report in Wired magazine from 2012 appears to somewhat validate any claim Mayer may have to having “designed” Gmail. The 2012 article refers to Paul Buchheit, widely described as the creator of Gmail, and says he “worked closely with Mayer during the creation of Google’s Gmail.”


Photo: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer delivers the keynote address Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, at the Yahoo Mobile Developer Conference in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


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