Why is Yahoo prolonging its layoffs?

Just before we could call Yahoo’s ongoing trickle of layoffs “Watch Out Wednesdays,” after a source told Business Insider that CEO Marissa Mayer was “laying people off every Wednesday,” the company threw some of its Midwestern workers for a loop this week when it laid them off on a Tuesday.

An entire customer service team of dozens of people lost their jobs at an office near Omaha, according to the Omaha World-Herald, and a similar layoff happened a week earlier about 10 miles away.

The dark days in Omaha came just after a celebration, says the newspaper: “It was just over a week ago at the West Dodge center, on March 2, when more than 150 employees clad in Yahoo ‘purple’ — purple T-shirts, purple party hats and beads — gathered in the center’s dining area for a company-wide ‘Yahoo’ yodel to mark the company’s (20th) anniversary.”

This is one of several Yahoo layoffs that have happened this year in Canada, India, and here in California.

The company might be trying to pare down some its far-flung operations as it strives to improve its research and innovation in Sunnyvale. Yahoo Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman hinted at cutbacks at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco last week.

“Facilities need to become more efficient and cost-thoughtful,” he said, suggesting that future facilities cuts “will be obvious as the year goes on.”

But the company is always careful to only fire enough people to not have to send red flags to the state and federal employment authorities. In California and elsewhere, that usually means no more than 50 layoffs per month in a single location, or state.

That saves the company the hassle of giving employees advance notice and telling the government, and it also might shield some companies from unwanted press attention — but not when you’re one of the most-watched Internet firms in Silicon Valley.

Any Yahoos or ex-Yahoos who want to talk about the climate at the company right now? Please call me at 408-920-5011 or email mobrien@mercurynews.com.

Above: Employees walk on the Yahoo corporate headquarters campus in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)


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  • Bronze Helmet

    The layoffs should start with the CEO of this rotten company.

  • al_langevin

    Does this sound like something from Dilbert, “Facilities need to become more efficient and cost-thoughtful”. Cost-thoughtful?

    Ken, how about you and Marissa come up with a “Product” that will make “Money”?