With more and more members flocking to Facebook, MySpace is taking drastic action to cut costs and possibly prepare itself for a sale. The struggling social network slashed its workforce nearly in half, handing out pink slips to 500 of its 1,100 employees, USA Today reports.
"Today's tough but necessary changes were taken in order to provide the company with a clear path for sustained growth and profitability," MySpace CEO Mike Jones said in a statement. "These changes were purely driven by issues related to our legacy business, and in no way reflect the performance of the new product."
MySpace has been trying desperately to reinvent itself and attract a younger audience. In October, MySpace launched an overhauled version of its site geared towards music, movies, and entertainment, and while the site still sees some 60 million visitors a month, it's still way behind Facebook, which sees 150 million visits on a monthly basis.
Lindsay Garvey, a 28-year-old woman living in Somerville, Massachusetts, claims she lost her job as a server at a restaurant because her iPhone alarm failed to activate. As a result, she was late to work and handed a pink slip, the Boston Globe reports.
That sounds like one of the oldest excuses in the book -- right there next to having a flat tire -- but this happened on New Year's Day. Garvey isn't the only way who complained about her iPhone alarm not ringing on New Year's Day, and Apple confirmed the glitch affecting non-recurring alarms set for January 1 or 2, Engadget says.
"Upon my termination, I was told that I was wonderful, but that my tardiness was unfair to the other employees," Garvey wrote in a letter to Steve Jobs. "So, Mr. Jobs, I'd like to let you know that you have officially, directly contributed to unemployment in 2011."
Garvey's accusation might not be entirely fair, to Apple or to Steve Jobs.
"Unfortunately, [Garvey's] tardiness on New Year's Day was not an isolated incident and it is with great regret that she was let go," wrote David Flanagan, co-owner Foundry on Elm where Garvey worked. "We value all of the team members of our staff and hold them to a very high standard of excellent hospitality."
Credit MySpace for once dominating the social networking scene and, more recently, trying to reinvent itself as an all-around entertainment epicenter. But let's be real, MySpace blew its opportunity to become what Facebook already is, and there doesn't appear to be room for both to coexist.
According to AllThingsD.com, things are about to get worse. Layoffs loom for perhaps as much as 50 percent of MySpace's workforce, AllThingsD.com says, which works out to around 550 pink slips.
Citing "multiple sources familiar with the situation," AllThingsD.com says nothing is a done deal, but all employees have been put on notice to start saving their pennies. The suits in charge are also batting around the idea of selling MySpace, though there's no word of any potential buyers.
There have been rumors that Yahoo's latest round of layoffs nixed the entire Del.icio.us team, and now it appears the social bookmarking site is not long for this world, TechCrunch reports.
Former Yahoo employee Andy Baio posted an internal Yahoo team meeting slide showing various business ventures listed under three categories: Sunset, Merge, and Make Feature. Del.icio.us falls under the Sunset heading, as does Altavista, MyBlogLog, Yahoo Bookmarks, and a handful of others.
"Part of our organization streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond," Yahoo said in a statement. "We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate."
Yahoo recently handed out pink slips to 4 percent of its staff (around 600 employees) in what the company described as "a tough call, but a necessary one."
Apple recently posted a job listing for a "Verizon iPad System Engineer" prompting a whirlwind of speculation through cyberspace as analysts try to read between the lines.
"The successful candidate will have enterprise sales experience and must have an existing knowledge of the mobile market and the technologies that support it," the listing reads. "Individual must have strong IT knowledge in the areas of enterprise messaging and collaboration, VPN, Wi-Fi, and enterprise security technologies."
In addition, potential candidates must "possess the ability to work without direct supervision or detailed direction." So what's the big deal here? According to Electronista, the wording confirms "both a deeper connection to Verizon and to enterprise sales," while hinting that Apple appears happy with its Verizon iPad relationship so far.
Taking it a step further, it seems conceivable that this apparently blossoming relationship would make Apple far less hesitant to port its iPhone over to Verizon, rumors of which continue to run rampant.
Or maybe Apple just needs to hire a Verizon iPad System Engineer.
Clark Griswold went off the deep end when he received a "Jelly of the Month" membership in place of a holiday bonus check, but at least he wasn't laid off. The same can't be said for some 650 to 700 Yahoo employees expected to lose their jobs today, AllThingsD.com reports.
Yahoo's product division will bear the brunt of this round of layoffs, and mostly here in the U.S. If all this weren't crummy enough, those laid off will be asked to leave immediately.
If there's a bright side to all this, it's that the number of pink slips is about half of what was initially reported. Back in November, TechCrunch said Yahoo was planning on severing about 20 percent of its 6,500 workforce, which Yahoo said was "misleading and inaccurate."
Most of us wouldn't think twice if the company we're working for offered us $3.5 million in restricted stock to stick around, but would you take it if Facebook was trying to pry you away? Probably, and according to TechCrunch, so did the Google employee who was given this very offer in order to keep him from joining Facebook.
"We've confirmed today that a staff engineer at Google being romanced by Facebook was offered a jaw dropping $3.5 million in restricted stock by Google (this means Google is handing over stock worth $3.5 million based on its value today, and that stock will vest over time. He quite wisely accepted Google's counter offer. Facebook lost this one," TechCrunch said.
That's quite the bonus in what's become a high stakes tug-of-war between Google and Facebook over talented engineers, but a drop in the bucket over what Google plans to pay in bonuses and raises over the next 12 months. In a confidential note to employees, Google recently stated it was giving every Google worker a $1,000 holiday bonus and at least a 10 percent raise effective January 1, 2011. It's estimated the move will cost Google around $1 billion next year.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a legal complaint on behalf of Dawnmarie Souza, who was fired from her job as an emergency medical technician after she posted critical remarks about her supervisor on her Facebook page, followed by exchanging disparaging messages with other employees, Star News Online reports.
"It's the same as talking at the water cooler," said Lafe Solomon, the board's acting general counsel. "The point is that employees have protection under the law to talk to each other about conditions at work."
As far as the NLRB is concerned, the Connecticut ambulance company Souza worked for has an unlawful policy that prohibits depicting the company "in any way" over the Internet without first getting permission. What's most interesting about this case is that it could set a precedent for more to follow.
"This is the first complaint we've issued over comments on Facebook, but I have no doubt that we'll be seeing more," Solomon said. "We have to develop policies as we go in this fast-changing environment."
To be fair, John Barr, an attorney representing the ambulance company, said Souza was fired following two separate complaints about her "rude and discourteous service" within a 10-day period, and would have been canned whether or not she posted on Facebook.
Get the full scoop here, then grab your gavel, hit the jump, and tell us your verdict.
According to an announcement made by the US Justice Department today, six major tech companies - Apple, Intel, Google, Intuit, Pixar, and Adobe - have reached a settlement in an antitrust investigation. The case centered around an agreement that the companies had to not scoop up each other's employees. The Justice Department calls this "restrained competition" for employees.
Several of these companies had agreements not to "cold call" employees of the other company with job offers. Some, like Google and Intuit, decided not to make offers to the other's employees at all. The settlement "prohibits the companies from engaging in anticompetitive no solicitation agreements." The catch, this will only be in effect for five years. At which time we could go through this whole process again. Additionally, a Judge still must approve the deal.
The Justice Department indicated some of these anticompetitive arrangements went back at least five years. They further stated that this investigation was necessary as it reduced the ability of high tech workers to compete for jobs. It was effectively salary-fixing.
In recent months, Facebook has been working hard to recruit talent from Google. For example, Google lost Android Product Manager Erick Tseng to Facebook a few months back. Rumor has it the The Big G is now starting to take the situation seriously, and is making some serious counter-offers to keep employees from going to Facebook.
TechCrunch has spoken with one former Googler who was offered a substantial 15% raise, quadrupled stock benefits, and a $500,000 bonus (!) to stay for one year. This particular developer, and others, have still taken the Facebook deal for one simple reason. Facebook is expecting an IPO soon. They haven't been making it official, but sources claim that Facebook is telling prospective employees that their individual stock benefits could be worth $100 million in just a few years. Now that's walking around money.
How big is the problem for Google? According to LinkedIn, at least 118 Google engineers have left for Facebook so far. It's not likely to damage the Google brain-trust, but it's not a trend you want to see.