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Yahoo passes paid subscriber goal

Internet media company Yahoo met its goal to end the year with 2 million paying subscribers ahead of schedule in early December, its chief executive said Monday. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investment conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., Terry Semel said the company exceeded its target last year, though he did not provide a precise figure.

Yahoo has increasingly emphasized premium services such as career listings, personal ads and custom e-mail packages as a way to diversify its sources of revenue and expand its reach beyond the basic advertising that had been its hallmark. In early December, Semel, speaking at an investment conference in New York, said the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company would surpass that 2 million subscribers goal.

Semel, monitored via Webcast from the Morgan Stanley conference, also addressed the planned acquisition of search software company Inktomi, a $235 million deal that was announced Dec. 23.

"We did it for fundamental reasons," Semel said. "The ownership of the index does give us greater flexibility and control over the services that we create online."

In a question-and-answer session after his presentation, Semel declined to comment on the potential impact of the Inktomi deal on Yahoo's search partner, Google, or on Overture Services, which sells paid search listings. After the Inktomi deal was announced, analysts widely speculated that it would give Yahoo a way to abandon its partnership with Google.

News source: c|net

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