Yahoo To Fire Another 15% As Mayer Attempts To Hang On ( 216

New submitter xxxJonBoyxxx writes: Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has announced plans to cut the company's workforce by 15% and close five foreign offices by the end of 2016 after announcing a $4.4bn loss. Yahoo shares have fallen 33% over the past year, including a 17% drop in the last three months. Its shares fell again in after-hours trading after Mayer announced her plan. Yahoo expects its workforce to be down to 9,000 and have fewer than 1,000 contractors by end of 2016. About a third of Yahoo's workforce has left either voluntarily or involuntarily over the last year. And the cuts may just be starting: one activist investor (SpringOwl) says the total number of employees should be closer to 3,000 for a company with its revenue.
The Courts

Former Yahoo Employee Challenges the Legality of Yahoo's Ranking System ( 250

whoever57 writes: A former employee of Yahoo is challenging Yahoo's performance review and termination process. The ranking system was introduced to Yahoo by Ms. Mayer on the recommendation of management consultants McKinsey & Co.. Gregory Anderson, an editor who oversaw Yahoo's autos, homes, shopping, small business and travel sites in Sunnyvale, Calif. is claiming that the ranking and termination process was flawed to the extent that the terminations were not based on performance and hence constitute mass layoffs, which require notice periods under both California and Federal law. He is also alleging gender discrimination, under which women were given preferential treatment over men in the hiring, promotions and layoff processes.

The Dark Arts: Meet the LulzSec Hackers ( 63

szczys writes: Reputations are earned. When a small group of hackers who were part of Anonymous learned they were being targeted for doxing (having their identities exposed) they went after the would-be doxxer's company, hard, taking down two of the company websites, the CEO's Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and even his World of Warcraft accounts. The process was fast, professional, and like nothing ever seen before. This was the foundation of Lulz Security and the birth of a reputation that makes LulzSec an important part of black hat history. Good companion piece and update to some of our earlier posts about the hack; that would-be doxxer was Aaron Barr.

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Energy Conservation Program ( 84

mdsolar sends news that the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a 6-2 ruling in favor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ability to create incentives for conserving energy and reducing demand on the power grid at peak times. The demand response program pays large electricity customers like retailers, schools and office buildings to reduce energy consumption on hot summer days and other times of peak demand. The reduction in power use means electric utilities don't need to turn on backup power plants, which cost more to run and boost electricity prices. ... The rule won wide praise from environmental groups because it curbed the need for utilities to build expensive and air-polluting power plants. The demand response program saved customers in the mid-Atlantic region nearly $12 billion in 2013, according to PJM Interconnection, which manages the wholesale power supply for all or part of 13 states. ... But the rule has meant millions in lost profits for utilities. Those companies argued that the program impermissibly targets retail customers.

Yahoo Fixes Bug That Could Compromise Email Accounts When Opening an Email ( 37

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo! has fixed a cross-site scripting bug that would have allowed attackers to fully compromise email accounts just by sending a malicious email. To lose control over their accounts, victims needed only to open the email. The researcher who discovered the bug said, "The code would be automatically evaluated when the message was viewed. ... We provided Yahoo with a proof of concept email that would forward the victim user's inbox to an external website, and an email virus which infects the Yahoo Mail account and attaches itself to all outgoing emails. The bug was fixed before any known exploits 'in the wild.'" Yahoo!'s bounty program awarded $10,000 for the research.

How Amazon's Drone Deliveries Will Work ( 177

An anonymous reader writes: In a new interview, Amazon has revealed details of the drone delivery program they're building out. VP Paul Misener said, "Prime Air is a future delivery service that will get packages to customers within 30 minutes of them ordering it online at The goals we've set for ourselves are: The range has to be over 10 miles. These things will weigh about 55 pounds each, but they'll be able to deliver parcels that weigh up to five pounds. It turns out that the vast majority of the things we sell at Amazon weigh less than five pounds." They haven't set pricing yet, but deliveries will follow the same protocols that trucks do now — if you're not home, it'll be left on your doorstep or in your yard. The company is developing different kinds of drones to service different climates. They also expect the regulatory issues to dissipate once they can demonstrate how safe the drones are. Amazon anticipates the vast majority of drone flying to be done between altitudes of 200ft and 400ft.

Yahoo Releases Largest Ever Machine Learning Dataset To Researchers ( 41

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo Labs has released a record-breaking dataset containing 110 billion interactions from 20 million Yahoo News users in 1.5TB of zipped data. The anonymized data is intended for research initiatives in artificial intelligence, including user-behavior modeling, collaborative filtering techniques and unsupervised learning methods.

EU Companies Can Monitor Employees' Private Conversations While At Work ( 127

An anonymous reader writes: A recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights has granted EU companies the right to monitor and log private conversations that employees have at work while using the employer's devices. The ruling came after a Romanian was fired for using Yahoo Messenger back in 2007, while at work, to have private conversations with his girlfriend. He argued that his employer was breaking his right for privacy and correspondence. Both Romanian and European courts disagreed.
The Almighty Buck

Open Salaries: the Good, the Bad and the Awkward ( 258

gollum123 writes: More employers, from Whole Foods Market, with 91,000 employees, to smaller companies such as SumAll and Squaremouth, are opening up companywide salary information to all employees. They generally don't disclose it to the public—but one company, Buffer, posts all employees' salaries on its website. The idea of open pay is to get pay and performance problems out on the table for discussion, eliminate salary inequities and spark better performance. But open pay also is sparking some awkward conversations between co-workers comparing their paychecks, and puncturing egos among those whose salaries don't sync with their self-image.

Teen Hacks US Intelligence Chief's Personal Accounts ( 132

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has now joined the CIA's John Brennan in having his personal online accounts hacked. A teenage hacker known as 'Cracka' has claimed responsibility for the hack, reporting that he had infiltrated Clapper's home telephone, online accounts and his personal email, as well as his wife's Yahoo account. Cracka had managed to change the settings on Clapper's Verizon Fios account so that any calls to his home number were redirected to the Free Palestine Movement group in California.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo Balk At UK's Investigatory Powers ( 55

Mark Wilson writes: The Investigatory Powers Bill may only be in draft form at the moment, but the UK government has already received criticism for its plans. Today, scores of pieces of written evidence, both for and against the proposals, have been published, including input from the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) coalition. Five key members of the coalition are Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo. In their written evidence, the quintet of tech companies express their concerns about the draft bill, seek clarification from the UK government, and issue warnings about the implications of such a bill. The evidence (document IPB0116) says that any surveillance undertaken by the government need to be 'targeted, lawful, proportionate, necessary, jurisdictionally bounded, and transparent'. The coalition notes that many other countries are watching to see what the UK does.
United Kingdom

Tech Companies Face Criminal Charges If They Notify Users of UK Government Spying ( 152

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Yahoo became the latest company promising to alert users who it suspected were being targeted by state-sponsored attacks (excepting Microsoft, who made a similar announcement just today). Twitter, Facebook and Google had previously assured their users that they would be warned of any potential government spying. The UK, it seems, isn't happy about this. They are pushing through a bill that will punish the leaders of any company that warns its users about British snooping with up to two years in prison. Specifically, UK ministers want to make it a criminal offense for tech firms to warn users of requests for access to their communication data made by security organizations such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

Report: Google Partners With Ford To Make Self-Driving Cars ( 143

An anonymous reader writes: A new report from Yahoo Autos says Google and Ford plan to announce a partnership to build self-driving cars. "By pairing with Google, Ford gets a massive boost in self-driving software development; while the automaker has been experimenting with its own systems for years, it only revealed plans this month to begin testing on public streets in California. Google has 53 test vehicles on the road in California and Texas, with 1.3 million miles logged in autonomous driving. By pairing with Ford, the search-engine giant avoids spending billions of dollars and several years that building its own automotive manufacturing expertise would require. Earlier this year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company was looking for manufacturing partners that would use the company's self-driving system, which it believes could someday eliminate the roughly 33,000 annual deaths on U.S. roads." Automotive News reported on the same plans independently, saying, "It isn't clear whether Ford would design a purpose-built vehicle for Google or supply a standard production car fitted with the sensors and computers that the car needs to guide itself down the road."

Hedge Fund Manager Criticizes Yahoo for Wasting $3 Billion On Poor Acquisitions ( 159

mrspoonsi writes: On Monday morning, Eric Jackson, manager of hedge fund SpringOwl, sent a brutal 99-page presentation to Yahoo's board, outlining his case for why the company should drop Marissa Mayer as CEO and find new management. Jackson points out that Yahoo has burned through $3 billion on M&A in the past three years since Mayer took the reins, which contributes to $10 billion in what Jackson calls Yahoo's misallocated capital. The value of all of those startups Yahoo has acquired, Jackson says, is worth nothing at Yahoo's current stock price. Jackson also points out that Yahoo has a history of buying up startups run by former Google APM members. While at Google, Mayer started the company's elite associate product-manager program. Of the 49 acquisitions Yahoo has made under Mayer's leadership, six were startups founded by ex-Googlers. The total cost of these six acquisitions is $319 million, according to Jackson's slide deck. Yahoo bought Polyvore in July for $230 million. Polyvore, a social commerce site that lets users make artistic collages of clothes and accessories...But Jackson does not mince words when it comes to Yahoo's decision to spend shareholder money acquiring Polyvore and companies like it. "It's not acceptable to pay $230M for zombie companies run by former APM members," he says, pointing out that Polyvore had raised $22 million in VC funding, was 8 years old, and had gone through multiple pivots. For all intents and purposes, it looked like a goner until Yahoo bought it.

No More QA: Yahoo's Tech Leaders Say Engineers Are Better Off Coding With No Net ( 216

Tekla Perry writes: A year ago Yahoo eliminated its test and quality assurance team, as part of project Warp Drive, its move to continuous delivery of code. The shift wasn't easy, Yahoo tech execs say, and required some "tough parenting." But the result has been fewer errors because "when you have humans everywhere, checking this, checking that, they add so much human error into the chain that, when you take them out, even if you fail sometimes, overall you are doing better." And the pain wasn't as great as expected. Yahoo's chief architect and SVP of science and technology discuss the transition.

Yahoo To Spin Off Everything That Makes It Yahoo ( 210

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo has confirmed reports from last week by saying it plans to spin off all of its assets aside from its $31 billion stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. "In the reverse spin off, Yahoo's assets and liabilities other than the Alibaba stake would be transferred to a newly formed company, the stock of which would be distributed pro rata to Yahoo shareholders resulting in two separate publicly-traded companies." Their decision was spurred by how stock market traders were weighing the tax risk of spinning off the most valuable part of the company.

The article notes that this probably means trouble for CEO Marissa Mayer: "Ms. Mayer, who was hired in 2012 to turn around Yahoo, had planned to spin off the company's 15 percent stake in Alibaba, bundled with a small-business services unit, into a new company called Aabaco. She then planned to focus on improving the company's core business, the sale of advertising that is shown to the roughly one billion users of Yahoo's apps and websites. Ms. Mayer is now effectively back to square one. Yahoo's core Internet operations are struggling, even though the chief executive has made dozens of acquisitions, added original video and magazine-style content, and released new apps."


Hit-and-Run Suspect Arrested After Her Own Car Calls Cops ( 423

Trachman writes: This is a fascinating article about hit and run suspect arrested after her own car reported the crash to authorities. The crash system activates when sensors on the car detect a sudden change of speed or movement. An emergency call is automatically placed to local first responders who can pinpoint the precise location of the incident using information supplied by the vehicle's GPS unit. An audio recording released by the authorities reveals how Bernstein tried to convince the dispatcher that there was no cause for concern. When the dispatcher asks what'd happened, Bernstein responds, "Ma'am, there's no problem. Everything was fine." Suspecting there was more to the situation than Bernstein was letting on, the dispatcher responds: "OK, but your car called in saying you'd been involved in an accident. It doesn't do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?"

Wih Messenger Revamp, Yahoo Joins the 'Unsend' Trend ( 49

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo has announced a new version of its almost-mothballed Messenger app, which, in addition to new integration with Flickr and Tumblr images, now permits users to 'unsend' messages at any time, a facility which Viber added last week. The ability to erase sent communication has been a dream of business and personal users for many years, and if messaging eclipses email, it seems likely to become a reality.

Yahoo Discussing Sale of Internet Business ( 129

An anonymous reader writes: According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Yahoo!'s board of directors is considering the sale of their internet business in a series of meetings starting today. "Growing concerns around Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's lack of progress turning around Yahoo and an exodus of top executives have increased pressure on the company's board to consider her future and alternatives to her turnaround attempt, now in its fourth year. ... Much of the value of Yahoo's $31 billion market capitalization is tied up in two large Asian assets, Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. Its 15% stake in Alibaba is now worth about $32 billion, and its 35% stake in Yahoo Japan is now worth about $8.5 billion. Yahoo's cash and short-term investments totaled $5.9 billion at the end of the third quarter. That would mean investors are valuing Yahoo's core business at less than zero if the Asian assets were spun out tax-free."

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