MicroHoo Lite And Other Creative Speculation About Yahoo’s Immediate Future

Yahoo Q1 earnings are coming up next week. There were also some recent, not-so-secret conversations between new CEO Carol Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about a search deal of some sort or a broader advertising partnership. And there’s a fairly credible rumor that more layoffs are coming at Yahoo, which are tied to a reportedly forthcoming reorganization (indeed, again).

Into the realm of speculation about the nature of a potential Microsoft-Yahoo ad deal, which is unlikely to be a complete outsourcing of search, Silicon Alley Insider cites Wall Street analyst Youssef Squali’s calculation of the potential savings ($1 billion or so) that would be realized if Yahoo were to totally outsource search. In addition, he projects a revenue bump of potentially $800 million if Yahoo gains additional display ad inventory to rep on Microsoft sites.

The NY Times writes about the potential reorg and layoffs:

The layoffs could affect several hundred employees and may be announced as early as Tuesday when Yahoo reports first-quarter financial results, said these people, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the plan is confidential . . .

The cuts would be the third round of layoffs at Yahoo in little more than a year. The Internet company, which has been struggling for more than two years, laid off about 1,000 workers early in 2008. It cut 1,400 or so in the fourth quarter of last year, in continuing efforts to prune its sprawling online business and bring down expenses. It ended the year with 13,600 employees.

Bartz’s personal decisiveness and no nonsense leadership style has won her fans and started to re-establish confidence among the Yahoo rank and file in the company’s direction and future. Another round of layoffs will undo some of that good will and positive momentum, although Bartz was explicitly selected to help “rationalize” Yahoo management and bring greater efficiency to the organization.

AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher offers up some informed gossip and speculation about the forthcoming reorg and personnel changes in a post that features lots more detail (if you’re interested).

The Times’ article mentions that Yahoo may sell selected properties, in particular HotJobs (the intention was announced earlier). That has some newspapers apparently concerned because the HotJobs deal is the cornerstone of the strategic Yahoo-newspaper consortium relationship.

It seems likely that there will be some sort of deal between Yahoo and Microsoft on ads. The precise form of the deal is TBD. But such a deal would mark a dramatic change from the Yang Yahoo regime when it seem to be “avoid Microsoft at all cost” and a Google ads deal was agreed but later thwarted by impending Justice Department action.

No doubt the drama will continue to build up to the earnings call next week. Stay tuned . . .

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Microsoft & Yahoo Search Deal | Yahoo: Business Issues | Yahoo: Employees


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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