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.