The Rumors Were True: Yahoo Layoffs for Real
It's a cold, cold winter in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Helsinki.
Internet "destination" Yahoo-as it calls itself in its company overview-has a bit of bad news for 4 percent of its staff (about 600 employees) this holiday season: Sorry, but your services at Yahoo are no longer necessary. Yahoo employees, however, should not be overly surprised as the company has trimmed labor off the books four times in three years.
"This was a tough call, but a necessary one," wrote Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, in an employee memo. "We need to make these changes now to ensure that Products is structured and running the way we want as 2011 begins. And that means we need fewer Yahoos in some areas, and different types of Yahoos in others."
Bartz contends in the memo that the company overall is doing well in terms of margins and stable growth in revenue, but that they found regional redundancies in certain underperforming and non-core products and are focused on their strengths in e-mail. search, the homepage, mobile, content and advertising.
"You've heard me say before that I didn't come to cut Yahoo to greatness," Bartz wrote. "That's still true. This decision is about more than cost savings. The changes are meant to get us into a position so we can invest more in the kind of products and technology we know we need to be successful."
One product not discussed in the memo was Flickr-the image- and photo-sharing Website that Yahoo owns. Flickr has a loyal following of users, some who are displeased with Yahoo's seeming lack of attention to the product and how it could be used to bolster Yahoo's standing as social-networking sites like Facebook and others compile more and more image-sharing capabilities.
One user, photographer Thomas Hawk, is downright angry over Bartz's handling of the company and her 2010 compensation of $47.2 million that tops Standard & Poor's list of highest-paid CEOs for the year. Hawk has some suggestions for Bartz in a blog post he wrote entitled "An Open Letter to Carol Bartz, CEO, Yahoo Inc.":
"Do you even realize what you have with Flickr? It's the largest well organized library of images in the world. Not only that, it has a very strong social-networking component. In fact, Flickr may represent (if managed correctly) your single biggest opportunity to launch a much larger and more lucrative social network (and stock photography agency as well). Have you spent any time in any Flickr groups? They are addicting. People live in them. They play games in them... And if you took the time to really explore the social side of Flickr, you'd learn this, and figure out a way to grow it."
Separately, mobile-device maker Nokia laid off 800 employees in its home country of Finland, bringing its total number of cuts to 1,800 people globally. These cuts have been planned since October.
Nokia's E7 smartphone is now on hold until early next year.