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The mind of Yahoo

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 by Dave Winer.

Yesterday while we were waiting for returns from the Potomac Primaries, some disturbing things started showing up on the wire. Layoffs at Yahoo, long planned, were now happening. People we knew were leaving. This morning we have a better idea of how wide the layoffs were.  Permalink to this paragraph

You have to wonder what they're thinking at Yahoo.  Permalink to this paragraph

Odds are that Yahoo is going to be acquired, even though they rejected Microsoft's offer, it's not clear that there's another way forward. The possibility of going it alone seems even slimmer after the layoffs.  Permalink to this paragraph

Why would Yahoo want to self-inflict more doubt about its future at this moment where doubt is its worst problem? Permalink to this paragraph

There's only one explanation. The layoffs were planned before Microsoft made its bid. "Business as usual" may be the order of the day, but this order should have been held until the Microsoft situation has cleared. If Microsoft is the new owner, let them decide who should go and stay, and whether Yahoo as a whole can operate with less profitabiity. As a division of a larger company they have less direct responsibility to shareholders. If they're going forward alone, then perhaps the layoffs still make sense, or maybe not. When tech companies are acquired the people are the primary asset.  Permalink to this paragraph

You gotta wonder what Microsoft thinks about this. Maybe it's the ultimate poison pill. Let's get rid of the talent that Microsoft wants to acquire. Of course that's a poison pill that would surely kill the patient.  Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

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