A report out of the NY Times Bits blog suggests Yahoo may be planning layoffs as early as Tuesday, December 14th. The anonymous source claims Yahoo may be planning to cut up to 5% of its staff. This figure is less than the 10% and 20% previously rumored by Cnet and TechCrunch in early November. Yahoo currently employs about 14,000 employees and is expected to layoff 650 employees in a cutback that targets its product division. The product division is under the direction of ex-Microsoft executive Blake Irving. Irving was the former corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Windows Live Platform group before he left his position in 2007 to pursue personal interests. He assumed this lead role at Yahoo in April 2010 and reports directly to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.
These layoffs may be a response to an increasing amount of pressure placed on Bartz by investors. The CEO is under the gun to improve the performance of Yahoo, which has remained flat since she took the reigns of the company in early 2009. Recent rumors suggest AOL may be looking to merge with Yahoo, but this deal is still in the very early stages of negotiation. AOL has reportedly approached Bank of America regarding this investment, but has yet to approach Yahoo. In the end, Yahoo needs to do something to keep it from sliding into oblivion. The once-powerful search engine is now gone and the struggling company must find a new direction before a bigger company scoops it up and spins off its valuable web properties like Flickr, Yahoo Mail, and del.icio.us.