Putting a positive spin on so-so news is a skill any CEO should possess, and Marissa Mayer has it in spades.

In another newscast-style earnings report, the Yahoo chief exec and CFO Ken Goldman laid out Q3 2013 figures for investors and the viewing public, highlighting the positives in a quarter that, as expected, wasn't so hot.

Piggy-backing off of an announcement she made at TechCrunch Disrupt last month, Mayer revealed Yahoo now has more than 390 million monthly active users on mobile, up from the 350 million she previously touted. That's a 15% jump quarter on quarter, according to Mayer.

"Our future is mobile, and we are committed to delivering great mobile ad formats," she would say later in the earnings webcast, clearly referencing ads this time.

Alright quarter, even better Alibaba

Mayer called the last quarter an unprecedented one in terms of product launches (she counted 15 in all) and as a turnaround following years of global search traffic decline.

But as for the stuff investors and Yahoo detractors care about, the company was down 1% year-on-year in revenue to $1.08 billion (about £675m, AU$1.13b), down 7% in price per ad, up only 1% in number of ads sold and down 7% in display ad revenue (not counting acquisition costs).

Search revenue did jump 3%, a bright spot only overshadowed by its $3.2 billion (about £2b, AU$3.36b) in cash and securities and a little thing called Alibaba.

Turns out Yahoo is now off the hook for selling as much of its stake in the Chinese e-commerce company as was previously required ahead of Alibaba's IPO. Yahoo owns a 23% stake in the firm, and where before it would have had to give up about half of its shares (261.5 million), it now only needs to dump 208 million.

Why does this matter to Yahoo? Because Alibaba, according to the New York Times, is valued at over $75 billion (about £46.8b, AU$78.8b), so Yahoo can keep riding this cash cow until it starts to having better earnings of its own.