Floundering Yahoo has taken a moment off from its struggles to stand up against the administration of President Donald Trump.
The beleaguered Sunnyvale firm, in the midst of a fragile sale process to Verizon and staggering from its two record-setting breaches of users’ personal data, on Feb. 17 signed onto a legal brief that opposes Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
Most other major Silicon Valley tech firms, aside from Oracle, have already joined the “amicus” brief. The executive order has been put on hold in the courts, but Trump has promised a new version soon.
The president has railed on Twitter against opponents of his bans, saying the “SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE” in the battle over the executive order.
Yahoo said in a blog post that it signed the brief because Trump’s order damages diversity, innovation and companies’ business operations, and is unconstitutional.
“Skilled, hardworking people around the world innovate together to make the products Yahoo users love,” the firm said. “In the United States alone, our (senior vice-president) of advertising and search emigrated from Chile, our chief information officer from Canada, and our (senior vice-president) of publisher products from Lebanon.”
Yahoo also noted that one of its co-founders, Jerry Yang, is from Taiwan. The Stanford graduate immigrated to the United States when he was 10.
The company addressed directly the issue underlying tech firms’ vocal opposition to the travel bans: their ability to access the broadest-possible global talent pool in order to remain competitive. “Inclusiveness and diversity,” Yahoo said, are “essential to recruit, grow, and retain the best talent in the world so we can create the best possible products.”
Yahoo’s sale to Verizon was initially announced as a $4.8 billion deal but was thrown into jeopardy by last year’s revelations that hackers stole user data from more than a billion accounts in one breach and at least a half billion in another.
This week, however, reports emerged suggesting the sale will go ahead, at a discount of around $250 million or $300 million.
Photo: Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)