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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Yahoo’s Next Big Play: South by Southwest

AUSTIN, Tex. â€" A quick spin through the South by Southwest lineup reveals the usual suspects: young start-ups vying to become the next big thing, up-and-coming musical acts, talks by Internet luminaries, and technology meet-ups on topics as varied as learning how to be an angel investor and workshops in 3-D printing.

And an eight-day extravaganza from Yahoo. That’s right, Yahoo.

Wooing conference-goers appears to be one of the company’s next moves to turn around its business and reputation among the hip and tech-savvy masses.

“When we look at Yahoo going forward, we want to reintroduce and remind people that Yahoo is at the intersection of media, technology and music,” said Kathy Savitt, the chief marketing officer. “SXSW is a great example of that convergence.”

The company has had a presence at the festival in previous years, Ms. Savitt said, particularly arond its original Web shows. But this year, the company took over a warehouse downtown where attendees can “hang out, listen to some of the coolest new bands, brainstorm and get a demo of some of Yahoo’s newest products, including the new Flickr app.”

The company is also hosting music performances from the rapper T.I and Tenacious D, the musical duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, and what it says will be “many more.”

Yahoo joins other tech heavyweights in Austin this week. Nikon has events planned around SXSW, and Dell is teaming with Fader, a music magazine, to host a party. BlackBerry has a house in downtown Austin where people can listen to music and play with the company’s latest smartphone.

“SXSW is a time for discovery,” Ms. Savitt said. “We see this an opportunity to showcase Yahoo’s innovations.”

Today’s Scuttlebot: Fighting Facebook Ads, and Chinese Surveillance

The technology reporters and editors of The New York Times scour the Web for important and peculiar items. For Friday, selections include a Kickstarter campaign seeking $30,000 to make men's socks, a guide for talking about Sheryl Sandberg's book without reading it and Grumpy Cat live at the SXSW conference.