SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)–The amount of time users spend using Yahoo Inc.’s (YHOO) key email service is declining because more people are using social network site Facebook Inc.’s “Wall” to communicate with each other, Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz said on Tuesday.
But Bartz did not provide specific user engagement data and she stressed that the number of Yahoo Mail users continues to grow. She added that Internet users will continue to share their time on Yahoo, Facebook and Google Inc. (GOOG) as they seek out information, navigate the Web and communicate with each other.
“Google, Yahoo and Facebook are ‘ANDs’ and not ‘ORs’,” she said during an appearance at a UBS media and communications conference that was webcast on the Internet.
Bartz offered a spirited defense of the beleaguered Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet giant, which is in the midst of turnaround effort that has seen it strike a search pact with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and shed non-core properties so it can focus on its key Web pages and display advertising business.
Yahoo is under increasing pressure from Facebook, which has surpassed 500 million users worldwide and is rapidly become the de facto home page for a growing number of Internet users. Facebook’s key social features include the Wall, a space on every user’s profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see.
The social network recently unveiled a new messaging system that combines email, instant messenger and text messages, a move many observers believed is aimed at pulling users away from Google’s and Yahoo’s email services.
Yahoo Mail is the leading U.S. email service, with more than 94.6 million unique visitors in September, roughly twice the audience of second-ranked Gmail, with 48.9 million, according to data from research group comScore.
Bartz declined to comment on struggling Internet rival AOL Inc. (AOL), which has recently been rumored to be pushing for a merger with Yahoo.