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Yahoo Breaking Up With The Past

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The entertainment ambitions of ex-Yahoo CEO Terry Semel may be swept away for the most part after top Yahoo executives meet to discuss their operations in Santa Monica.

Yahoo Breaking Up With The Past
Yahoo Breaking Up With The Past

For those in the entertainment industry, Silicon Valley may as well be on Mars in terms of how far away it is from Hollywood power brokers. During the Semel regime, which included the employment of Lloyd Braun, Yahoo established quarters closer to the entertainment capital, and all of its trendy nightclubs and power lunch spots.

TechCrunch heard about Yahoo’s plans to make some changes within the entertainment group at Santa Monica. Michael Arrington wrote that Jerry Yang will have a high-profile, confidential meeting with Yahoo’s executives to plan out their continuing competitive strategy.

Arrington characterized this meeting as one that will portend "a strategic shift away from premium services in the music group," where performance has been subpar compared to Yahoo’s free, ad-supported services.

A followup post by the executive to be impacted by this meeting, Vince Broady, appeared on Yahoo’s official blog after TechCrunch’s post began making the rounds. Broady’s post is what we in the trade refer to politely as "clear as mud" when it comes to communicating what these changes will mean. For example:

A consolidated entertainment team also means increased accountability, faster decision-making, better focus, and the ability to staff our engineering, product, and design muscle against our most important priorities. And it allows us to redeploy our talent against big bets in other parts of the company.

Broady also said the changes will streamline the entertainment division in Santa Monica. He also dropped the "creating more synergies" phrase into the mix, when discussing the various entertainment properties within the division working more closely together.

In many other businesses, when we hear the words "consolidated" and "streamlining" coming from an executive’s mouth, it means someone is about to drop the F-word. No, not that one. We mean "firings."

Until more details emerge, it sounds like a little bit of housecleaning is coming to Santa Monica. We think fewer people are going to work on more projects. "Faster decision-making" and "better focus" usually come when there are not as many folks in the mix.

We hope that Yahoo isn’t going to turn out a bunch of Yahoos, but Yahoo’s Wall Street fortunes have begun to look up, and if there’s one thing Wall Street loves, it’s the sound of workers being kicked to the street. This may not be a real fun day for those in Broady’s branch of the Yahoo tree.

UPDATE!: Kara Swisher at All Things D thinks the big meeting will be a big snooze.

Yahoo Breaking Up With The Past
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