The first major product revamp to come out of Yahoo after Marissa Mayer took over last summer was a new version of Yahoo Mail, completed last fall.
Yahoo sources tell us Mayer pushed the team making it to get it done incredibly fast – in just four months.
That’s about 14 fewer months than it took Yahoo to revamp Mail last time.
These sources say it was impressive to watch Mayer inspire engineers and designers to work through several weekends in a row – a once too rare sight at Yahoo.
But did Mayer push the team to work too fast?
Yesterday, British Internet-service provider BT announced that it was no longer funnel its customers into Yahoo Mail, as BT’s email provider of choice.
Yahoo will lose about 6 million accounts in the process.
BT says its dumping Yahoo because of security issues.
“We will be switching customers’ email over to BT Mail, which will include the features and functions they expect from a modern email service,” BT’s Nick Wong, director of online for BT’s consumer division, told the Guardian.
Brutal comment, right?
In the long term, Mayer can’t afford for Yahoo Mail to breakdown and shed individual users or lose partnerships with major ISPs.
Yahoo Mail is one of Yahoo’s two most important products, along with the homepage.
Yahoo has hundreds of millions of mail users. Yahoo makes a lot of money off these users because they often end up looking at other Yahoo pages, including Yahoo.com, before or after they check their email.
Thanks to the user migration to non-Web-based, mobile email, Yahoo is beginning to see fewer of these money-making sessions. It can’t afford to accelerate the process with bad product.
The good news for Mayer is that thanks to Yahoo’s lucrative investment in Asian Internet companies, she has lots of time to fix Yahoo Mail and the development structure that resulted in a flawed product.