Yahoo In A Fight For Its Life

According to Reuters on Tuesday next week the already embattled new Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson will lay out his vision for the company. The pressure will be on to deliver a coherent and convincing plan — emphasis on convincing.

Following the announcement of 2,000 layoffs earlier this week Thompson sought to reassure Yahoo employees in a company memo. A streamlined organizational structure will better enable Yahoo to compete in the future, he reportedly said.

That new structure will apparently not include Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving, who has resigned. His organization took a disproportionate hit in the layoffs and is being “blown up” according to AllThingsD.

Reuters reports that Thompson’s plan will focus on three areas: “core media and communications,” “platforms” and “data.” We’ll see how that impacts what remains of Yahoo search and other products. Notwithstanding the search outsourcing deal with Microsoft, apparently there are still a remarkable “1,800 staffers for search,” according to an anonymous Yahoo executive quoted in the article:

The fate of several Yahoo businesses remains uncertain, particularly the search business, according to the source, who wished to remain anonymous because the comments involved company matters. While Yahoo struck a deal with Microsoft Corp in 2009 to outsource much of its search operations, Yahoo still employs roughly 1,800 staffers for search, the executive said.

My view has been that Yahoo made a strategic mistake in doing the search deal with Microsoft and has “paid” for it ever since it in lost talent and revenue.

Earlier this year the company shuttered a bunch of mobile apps that were underperforming. The Next Web said that Yahoo’s Asian Foursquare lookalike service Koprol is one that may also be in jeopardy. Undoubtedly there will be other Yahoo products that suffer or are entirely shuttered in the forthcoming reorg.

Whatever Thompson says next Tuesday it will be met with skepticism by the tech community, unless or until the attempted turnaround demonstrates real results. There have been too many Yahoo CEOs announcing too many comeback strategies over the past several years.

While Yahoo still has three of the top 10 US websites according to Hitwise, it has entered a kind of negative spiral that it may not be able to escape. Its value as a company and a brand has steadily eroded.

The recent layoff notices have no doubt created a kind of numbness internally among the employees that remain. They’ll be working under conditions of stress and uncertainty — not the kind of upbeat atmosphere that fosters creativity and innovation.

Stock image from Shutterstock, used under license.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Top News | Yahoo | Yahoo: Business Issues | Yahoo: Employees | Yahoo: General | Yahoo: Search


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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  • Lin Chen

    manolo blahnik

  • Aiden Moor

    Really, Yahoo is struggling for its life a lot…………

  • Manoj Pallai

    Cool info.. Can you share word wide data? not only US, bcz some where having high traffic for yahoo! like Africa.

  • Mike McCarty

    I don’t buy into this. I think Yahoo will rise up in the near future. As soon as people realize the greed of Google and that PANDA really means pay us all your money and we will rank you highly in your “natural” search rankings. Soon the public will realize that Google doesn’t search the web. They search Google’s directory. Want a real search engine that searches the web? Hey Yahoo! is pretty good and they don’t rob you blind to get ranked either! As Google becomes more greedy… Yahoo! will become more famous!

  • Matt McGee

    Mike, Yahoo shut down its search engine two years ago and started using Bing’s search results. I wouldn’t call Yahoo a “real search engine” at this point. 

  • Dan Jian

    I don’t buy into this. I think Yahoo will rise up in the near future. As soon as people realize the greed of Google and that PANDA really means pay us all your money and we will rank you highly in your “natural” search rankings. Soon the public will realize that Google doesn’t search the web.

  • Monica Wright

    Hi there,

    We appreciate your feedback, but prefer not to have links dropped into comments. I took the liberty of editing your comment.

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