Freshly laid-off Yahoo employees and remaining employees uncertain about their company’s future in the wake of Microsoft’s $44.6 billion purchase offer may have a go-to option at MySpace.
A source familiar with the company’s plans told eWEEK that MySpace, which is looking to double its workforce to fill positions in the new San Francisco and Seattle offices, would likely target Yahoo employees.
MySpace declined to comment for this story. Yahoo began a planned round of 1,000 layoffs Feb. 12, one day after Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s offer. Microsoft has said it would pursue Yahoo; the uncertainty over the company’s fate could lead to defections by disillusioned employees.
Though he would not cite the uncertainty over Yahoo’s fate as a reason, Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo’s director of advanced technology, left Tuesday along with the laid off workers because he thought, “it’d be a good day for me to slip out unnoticed too.”
Horowitz, who founded media software maker Virage, said in his blog he is now working for Google, but declined to say what he was doing.
Horowitz is just one star to shoot over Yahoo. The company, one of the vanguards of the Internet market, is loaded with talent versed in programming for and managing Internet businesses.
These defections could prove to be ripe fruit for Internet companies such as MySpace, which is particularly looking for software engineering talent to help build up its recently launched developer platform.
MySpace is looking to make a big push in applications this year to better challenge Facebook and other social networks, which are hoping to increase the amount of time users spend on their sites. Eventually, it is believed programmers will build enterprise-oriented applications on social networks to people conduct business.
Rumors about MySpace’s interest in Yahoo employees comes after speculation that Yahoo and News Corp., parent to Fox Interactive Media and MySpace, were looking to strike a deal. Several reports said News Corp. would take a 20 percent or greater stake in Yahoo, which would oversee MySpace.
The companies have not confirmed the talks.
Meanwhile, it is expected that Microsoft will boost its original offer of $31 per share for Yahoo to somewhere between $35 and $40 after Yahoo rejected the offer for “substantially” undervaluing the company.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang Feb. 13 sent a letter to the board hashing out the company’s value. Since then, both the hunter and hunted have been quiet.