Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Another Sad Day for Yahoo: Layoffs Begin, While Employees Vent

While layoffs have become all too common across tech and this country, today’s at Yahoo feel a little worse, coming after 18 unceasing months of painful changes and stumbles at the troubled Internet icon.

As previously reported by BoomTown, about 10 percent of Yahoo’s workforce–1,500–are expected to get their walking papers, starting this morning.

I have gotten more than a dozen impassioned emails from Yahoo (YHOO) employees, some of whom are there and some who have left, this week alone–all of whom truly care for the company, in spite of obvious anger.

Here is part of a sadly typical one:

“Yahoo has made a lot of stupid moves, starting with turning Microsoft down, but to cut the high caliber and quality of people that they are cutting now–basically choosing quantity over quality–is an abomination. How’s the old saying go: you don’t mess with success. Yet, that’s exactly what Yahoo is doing, and is only going to become even weaker than it already is.”

The layoff number was announced by its (eventually outgoing) CEO Jerry Yang on its last earnings call on Oct. 21, as part of an attempt to turn around the fortunes of Yahoo.

Since then, the economy has worsened, making it even harder for the company to right its fortunes. Even Yang has since announced that he was stepping aside, as Yahoo searched for a new CEO.

As I wrote earlier this week, here are some highlights of the layoffs today:

1. The number currently remains at 1,500, although given the current economic environment, several sources at Yahoo expect the eventual numbers to add up to be more that that, up to 2,000.

2. The layoffs are across the board. But expect general, human resources and finance to take a bigger hit, since the expense cuts are cost-based and most of the costs in those divisions are staff.

3. Employees targeted will be told this morning with a “normal separation period,” which means they will be out within a few hours today.

Valleywag has apparently obtained the script for those exits, which–as typical as they are for these situations–truly bleed purple.

4. Yahoo execs are not expecting any serious problems because these layoffs have been long anticipated. But there will be security present at its Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ and elsewhere.

5. Most employees do not know if they will be let go yet, nor has management in charge of the cuts made that public.

That’s because whole projects might be eliminated, and there is the possibility of whole divisions being moved among big managers.

6. Yang’s successor has not yet been named, although the race is narrowing.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work