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Yahoo CEO says he's ready for long fight with Google

SEATTLE -- Yahoo Inc.'s Jerry Yang, who started the company as a Stanford University student 12 years ago and took the helm as chief executive Monday, said he's gearing up for a long fight with Google Inc.

"I'm ready to dig in and make sure we can take Yahoo to the next level," Yang, 38, said in an interview yesterday. "I'm absolutely not interim. We want someone for the long haul."

Yang replaced Terry Semel after Yahoo lost its lead in Internet advertising to Google and shares fell 35 percent last year. The new CEO said he will hire engineers and improve the company's technology to regain ground.

His remarks raised concern among investors that Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo will increase spending when it may not have the resources to slug it out. If Yang stumbles, Yahoo, owner of the second most-popular Internet search engine, may fall further behind.

"They need to identify a technology game plan," said Anthony Valencia, an analyst at TCW Group Inc. in Los Angeles, which holds Yahoo shares in its $160 billion under management. "They're definitely at a financial disadvantage to Google. In a spending contest, Google will win."

Google had $11.9 billion in cash and marketable securities as of March 31, compared with Yahoo's $3.13 billion.

Yahoo will focus on generating more money from its Web pages as new sites such as YouTube and Facebook compete for advertisers.