ADOTAS – We knew it would be arriving any day — the layoff wagon finally rolled into Yahoo this week, its haul filled with pink slips. Though Yahoo corporate fluctuated from tight-lipped to extraordinarily vague, around 4% of the workforce were given severance packages — the final figure was 600 of Yahoo’s more than 14,000 global employees.
There was plenty of media rubbernecking (Live-blogging the layoffs? Really?) and cut employees lashing out on Twitter and other social mediums, with the common sentiment best represented by a five-year veteran and pink-slip receiver telling TechCrunch he’d “never seen this place in such shambles.”
Oh, but he didn’t know about the services being “sunset” — leak of an internal post-layoff presentation showed that social bookmarking product Del.icio.us is getting shelved, along with Altavista, MyBlogLog, Yahoo Bookmarks and Yahoo Picks. While eight products are getting killed, services such as Upcoming, FoxyTunes, Sideline and FireEagle were listed under “Merge.” Internet users were outraged; Business Insider has a great roundup of some of the Twitter responses.
Alas, with these latest staff and service cuts, the “Yahoo Is So Over” headlines are coming out in force. Many similar headlines appeared last year after another round of layoffs… You know what? I think I see a “Yahoo Is Dead! DEAD DEAD DEAD!” headline every two weeks.
Just about every service getting the ax is outdated, hasn’t been updated or frankly irrelevant. Think of them as residents at a Web 2.0 nursing home — many were great ideas that had run their course or been perfected or improved by startups or other Internet giants. Just like with MySpace and News Corp., the Yahoo acquisition of MyBlogLog and other startups might have been the death knell.
(For some reason I can’t help thinking about StumbleUpon, which bought itself back from acquirer eBay and is now more successful than ever. The social discovery service could have easily inhabited the Web 2.0 nursing home up the street.)
Many of the just-cut services were just waiting to die. The Flickr department was once again smacked with pink slips, which isn’t surprising considering Facebook’s domination of photo sharing.
Yahoo keeps stripping down, but the company was an unfocused behemoth (unlike Google only in that Google is a highly successful unfocused behemoth). Now it’s focusing on what it does best — serving as an Internet portal and media company. It still has a 16.2% of all display dollars (though that share is getting chewed into by Facebook and Google).
The real question — one that AOL is pondering as well — is whether being a portal is a viable enterprise in the current climate, especially as Facebook yearns to become the access point to the web. Is Yahoo getting too skinny? Will its services seem too slight to warrant attention? Or does it still have more fat to trim?