Would Udi Manber Work for MicroHoo?
from the trouble-in-the-HR-department dept
There may be nobody that knows the excitement of joining the hot-Internet-company-du jour better than Udi Manber: Chief Scientist at Yahoo, 1998-2002; CEO of A9.com, 2002-2006 (A9 was hot for a minute or two, right?); VP Engineering at Google, 2006-present. Udi’s resume exemplifies the aspirations of many a talented computer scientist and/or software engineer, all hoping to work for the next bright star in the Silicon Valley sky. And Udi is probably just one of many who have successfully leapt from one hot, cool company to the next. The New York Times thoughtfully considers the consequences of this pattern in light of the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo merger.
It is indeed unlikely that a combination of these two giants would be very appealing to those finicky tech workers who are looking for the next big thing. However, it’s been awhile since either Microsoft or Yahoo has been the next big thing, and yet neither have shown much trouble filling their ranks; clearly plenty of workers are content to have a well-paying job at a stable company. It is also probable that some employee attrition would follow on the heels of a completed merger. But this is not the case of start-up being acquired, where the start-up company’s technology is often in the early stages of development and the buyer is paying as much for a smart, ambitious team as it is for the lines of code that have been written. In fact, part of Microsoft’s plan may be to trim the fat beyond the 1,000 layoffs already announced by Yahoo, and some of those jumping ship may simply be sparing the efforts of the executioner’s blade.
The human resources challenges associated with the evolution of a company from hot stuff to yesterday’s news have already been priced in to this deal. Those challenges are certainly correlated with Yahoo’s underperformance over the past few years and, subsequently, to the price of its stock. And Microsoft has no doubt considered how these challenges might continue or be aggravated by a merger; their offer reflects such considerations. Yahoo is a mature brand with a very large audience and, recruiting and retention problems notwithstanding, Microsoft believes that they can wring greater profits out of those assets than Yahoo’s own management has been able to. Don’t expect MicroHoo to become an exciting upstart that appeals to the likes of Udi, but don’t expect that this fact will deter Microsoft from pressing forward with their plans.