In a move that could be a hint of things to come, Yahoo told a group of about 30 or so employees yesterday that their jobs would be terminated in 60 days, and that they could look for other jobs within Yahoo. But could they please turn in their computers by the end of the day today. Other than the engineers, who tend to get quickly sucked into other groups, it is not likely many will find other jobs at Yahoo.
The layoff represents a small reshuffling of employees, with jobs actually moving to Europe. One of the teams affected is the company’s successful Yahoo Answers team, which is split between the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. employees are losing their jobs, and the the team is consolidating in Europe. The same thing is happening for a search technology group that was split between the U.S. and Europe. This part of a bigger reorganization of the search group that’s been going on since at least December. Many of the engineers in the Answers group in the U.S., for instance, will be going to Delicious.
The remainder of the layoffs will come from Yahoo’s Brand Universe project, which was killed in December, a year after it officially launched. Its leader Vince Broady is leaving the company. Brand Universe was an attempt to make widgetized landing pages for big brands that appealed to advertisers, and is no longer considered a core focus of Yahoo’s renewed consumer-centric strategy.
Yahoo has nearly 14,000 employees, and reshufflings like this happen all the time. The question is whether more substantial layoffs are around the corner.