Yahoo! shake-up: Hundreds to get axed
Reports indicate this may be Internet icon's biggest layoffs since 2001
Battered by slow revenue growth and the popularity of social networking Web sites, Yahoo! Inc. is poised to lay off hundreds of workers, according to published reports.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both reported on the slumping Internet icon's cost-cutting plans, citing people familiar with the matter.
Precisely how many of Yahoo's roughly 14,000 employees will lose their jobs hasn't been determined, the newspapers said. A final decision could be announced Jan. 29 when Yahoo executives are scheduled to review the Sunnyvale-based company's fourth-quarter results.
If several hundred employees are dumped, it will mark Yahoo's most extensive layoffs since 2001 when the company was trying to battle back from the dot-com bust.
The payroll purge was first reported over the weekend by Silicon Alley Insider, a blog focused on investments in technology and media. The blog said Yahoo had drawn up a list of 1,500 to 2,500 jobs that could be eliminated, but Monday's reports indicated management doesn't expect the cuts to be that deep.
A Yahoo spokeswoman didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
It won't come as a surprise if Yahoo jettisons workers, said Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry. He believes Yahoo has room to trim its work force by about 5 percent, or 700 employees, after phasing out some of its services, such as auctions and photos, during the past year.
Besides falling further behind Silicon Valley rival Google Inc. in the lucrative Internet search and advertising market, Yahoo also has been struggling to hold on to younger Web surfers as they spend more time on hip online hangouts like Facebook.com and MySpace.com.
The problems have slowed Yahoo's revenue growth even as spending on online ads accelerates. That trend has devastated Yahoo's stock, which has plunged by nearly 50 percent since the end of 2005. Yahoo shares finished last week at $20.78.
With shareholders clamoring for a shake-up, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang took over as the company's chief executive last June, replacing former movie studio mogul Terry Semel.
Yang has promised to re-establish Yahoo's position as the Web's most popular "starting point" while building a compelling ad network, but his progress hasn't impressed investors so far. Since Yang became CEO, Yahoo's stock price has declined by 25 percent while Google shares have surged by more than 15 percent.
Earlier this month, Yahoo opened its mobile platform so outside programmers can develop new applications for Yahoo pages accessed on mobile handsets. Yahoo hopes the mini-applications will bring the company more money from advertising.
The company also unveiled a redesigned home page for mobile phones that includes more content and enables visitors to designate material they want highlighted.
Yahoo! sets eyes on becoming the indispensable starting point for consumers' Web experience
LAS VEGAS - The web has certainly come a long way since Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford University students started Yahoo! to catalog their favorite World Wide Web sites.
Yet to this day, the duo has never lost sight of the ball and has remained true to the original goal of the company - that is to make the web and the Internet simple and easy to use.
Thirteen years later, and with a more complex Internet, Yahoo! now is, more than ever, striving hard to be relevant to the more than 500 million of its users worldwide by offering a more rich, personal and relevant Internet experience to its more than 500 million users worldwide.
During his Industry Insider presentation at CES 2008 held at the Hilton Theater here, Jerry Yang, the 39-year-old CEO and chief Yahoo! outlined his vision to evolve the company ahead of the curve and become the indispensable starting point for Web experience of today's consumers by taking the complexity of the Web and simplifying the experience through very powerful technologies.
"I am thrilled," Yang said, "to be at the reigns for the next wave of what's going on, on the Internet. Along with my co-founder David Filo and some very extremely talented Yahoos around the world, we're ready and excited about what the next phase of the Internet has to offer. I think it's time to get Yahoo yodeling again."
From the newest to the most experienced users out there, Yahoo's purpose is to let users figure out what their online experience should be and then experiencing that to its fullest, Yang said. "We're calling this life with an exclamation point. So however you spend your days, whatever device you're using, whatever you want to learn, when you want to earn, socialize, search, share, or entertain yourself, our goal is to help you make the most of your busy life by being what we've always been, the best starting point for the entire web experience," explains Yang.
He said that as the web became deeper and richer, becoming a more integral part of all our lives - a communications medium, a commerce, productivity, and entertainment medium, the goal remains the same: To be the simple starting point going for a much richer and more complex world, so one can get more out of the Internet.
To illustrate an example, he cited the case of multiple social networks where a lot of users read more blogs, tapping into more sources, juggling non-stop connections - connectivity, activities, people. "And how do we really make all these deep meaningful relationships that we've built and experiences that we've built on the Internet - how do we make that really simple for people to use?," Yang asks.
Today, the Yahoo! CEO said, Yahoo is already the homepage for hundreds of millions of individuals, people who take charge and personalize their web experience with My Yahoo, connect with people who are caring about using - connecting people who they care about using Yahoo Mail. And find things that they need with Yahoo Search.
Yang said that as the world become open, more social and everyone becomes mobile, people are looking for ways to bring all these capabilities together, making them personally relevant.
Industry analysts project that an estimated four billion mobile phone users worldwide by 2010 and key to this Yahoo! goal was the announcement of the launch of the all-new Yahoo! Go 3.0, Yahoo!'s flagship all-in-one mobile offering, initially in beta version at this year's CES.
The new product further solidifies Yahoo!'s leadership position in delivering leading-edge mobile experiences to consumers worldwide by delivering more of what consumers want, wherever however and whenever they want it.
Marco Boerries, executive vice president, Connected Life, Yahoo! said the launch of Yahoo! Go 3.0 is a game-changing mobile development from Yahoo!.
"This new open environment provides consumers with a highly-compelling user experience and robust, personalized starting point to the mobile Internet. Through this, we are providing users with increased control over their experiences as well as increased choice in getting the content and services they want while on the go. With our innovative mobile services like Yahoo! Go 3.0 and deep partnerships across the industry, we are focused on making the promise of the mobile Internet a reality for consumers around the world," Boerries said.
Yahoo! Go 3.0 takes mobile services to the next level with an upgraded and feature-rich user interface, a truly personalized start page and customizable access to consumers' favorite Internet brands and services through easy-to-use third-party widgets. It offers an intuitive and rich design that makes efficient use of the phone's small screen and speeds consumers' ability to find the information they need on the mobile Internet, enabling consumers to easily navigate Yahoo! Go 3.0 through a choice of two views - either the traditional carousel or the new icon layout.
Moreover, the new Home widget for Yahoo! Go 3.0 offers an innovative gateway for consumers to get where they're going on the mobile Internet. It features an at-a-glance update of what's new since the last visit; such as how many new e-mails have arrived, upcoming calendar appointments, and new photos posted to Flickr by friends. The Home widget also includes a customizable collection of mobile snippets - previews of the user's favorite Web content - news headlines, weather conditions and more - to keep users updated while on the go. It also allows the user to get quickly where they want to go on the mobile Internet via Yahoo! oneSearch.
Yahoo! Go 3.0 is expected to be available on hundreds of devices worldwide, accessible by hundreds of millions of users.