If Yahoo has any strategy at all, let's hear it

Management whacks another 2,000 people and promises to redeploy resources to its "most urgent priorities." So where's the plan?

Yahoo headquarters
Yahoo

As I read its remarkably vague layoffs announcement this morning, the immediate question for me was this: what in the world is Yahoo still waiting for? If there's a strategy out there -- other than to sue the pants off of Facebook -- inquiring minds would love to know about it.

Scott Thompson, who was appointed CEO in early January, was hailed as the man with the plan to revive a flagging franchise. The jury's still out on that one, but if Thompson's as good as Yahoo's board says he is, then this is a good time to lay his cards out on the table.

But no. Yahoo issued a mealy-mouthed statement -- one that conveniently buried the big news of the layoffs -- as it talked about this move constituting the "next step toward a bold, new Yahoo."

Really? There's no more bloodletting on the way? We'll watch and see, but it's hard to imagine who would take that bet as long as the bigger question about how Yahoo intends to stay relevant remains shrouded in mystery.

Thompson was quoted as saying that Yahoo intends to redeploy resources to the company's "most urgent priorities."

"Our goal is to get back to our core purpose -- putting our users and advertisers first -- and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal," he said.

Did Thompson write that, or did the boss hand it off to the flacks? Whoever authored that line ought to get taken out to the woodshed. If Yahoo hasn't been putting its users and advertisers first all along, then the company is in deeper disarray than widely believed.

Thompson's accompanying letter was equally vague.

As far as anything that approximated a strategy, here's what the company was willing to share with the world:

Yahoo! has identified key parts of the business -- a select group of core businesses, the platforms that support those core businesses, and the data that drives deep personalization for users and ROI for advertisers -- where the company will intensify efforts and redeploy resources globally, all focused on increasing shareholder value. With a clear focus on profitability and growth, the company will be disciplined in its investments and radically simplify how it builds, launches and maintains many of its properties and products.

The problem is that we've heard this story before.

If Yahoo has any strategy at all, let's hear about it. While the rest of the competition is on Internet time, Yahoo seems perfectly content to keep taking its time. Is it that hard to figure out?

When Yahoo talks about redeploying resources to urgent priorities and taking "important next steps to reshape the company for the future," it rings hollow since nothing was outlined -- other than the fact that 2,000 more people will lose their jobs because of a history of management incompetence.

Are you a Yahoo employee with something to say about the layoffs and the state of Yahoo in general? Shoot me an e-mail, would you? I'm at charles.cooper@cbsinteractive.com.

 

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