SUNNYVALE -- Yahoo (YHOO) Mail users will see a redesigned interface within the next few days, CEO Marissa Mayer announced Tuesday.

In the first major change to a prominent Yahoo service since Mayer arrived to lead the company in June, the company's webmail offering is being redesigned to cut clutter, make it faster and offer a consistent design on both PCs and mobile gadgets, the CEO said in a blog post.

"We've redesigned the new version of Yahoo Mail with speed in mind -- getting through your emails is faster than ever before. We've also made your inbox more intuitive and easier to navigate, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your messages," Mayer wrote.

Mayer has pushed the importance of Yahoo's mobile offerings, so ensuring that mobile access to email offers a similar experience to desktop usage was an important part of the redesign, she said. The new Yahoo webmail offering includes redesigned apps for smartphones using Apple's (AAPL) iOS -- its first stand-alone app for Apple's ecosystem -- as well as Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.


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"Because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices," she wrote Tuesday.

Vivek Sharma, who manages Yahoo's webmail and instant message offerings, told Reuters that the mobile push is part of the company's effort to stay relevant with a new generation of users.

"Most of the new users, especially young ones, are using mobile Internet devices. So the first order of things is to make sure there are native experiences for them," Sharma said.

Yahoo's webmail service competes with Google's Gmail and Microsoft's Outlook.com at the top of the webmail heap. ComScore reports that Yahoo is still the leading webmail service in the U.S., though it ranks third globally. The company's lead in the U.S. is slipping, however: ComScore reported last month that Yahoo email users fell 16 percent year over year nationally and 7 percent globally.

A new look for Yahoo is important in the competition with Google and Microsoft, as Gmail's look and feel -- developed when Mayer was still an executive at the Mountain View search giant -- has been widely praised, and Microsoft completely revamped its webmail service this year, changing the name from Hotmail to Outlook.

"This looks like a nice feature set. It certainly looks like it will be a cleaner experience for email users," Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk told Bloomberg News, though she also said, "I don't think this in itself will be what saves Yahoo."

Mayer has been building the Sunnyvale company's mobile team through acquisitions, using a cash hoard collected from the sale of part of Yahoo's stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. Yahoo purchased Stamped, a New York startup co-founded by Google veteran Robby Stein, to form the backbone of the company's mobile product development, then picked up San Francisco-based OnTheAir last week to add to the team.

Mayer said in her first earnings conference call with reporters, in October, that her major focus would be on mobile technology, calling "a focused, coherent mobile strategy" her top priority in leading the company.

Wall Street seems to be happy with the priorities Mayer has stressed so far, with the company's stock price hitting levels unseen since 2008. The company's stock rose to yet another 52-week high Tuesday, jumping as high as $19.63 before closing at $19.52, a 0.5 percent daily gain, which is Yahoo's highest closing price since the recession. Since Mayer was appointed CEO on June 16, Yahoo's stock has gained 24.8 percent.

Reuters contributed to this report. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.