Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo in a $4.83-billion deal is likely to have an impact on the latter’s research & development (R&D) operations in Bengaluru and could set the stage for the further scaling up of its resources. Yahoo started its R&D operations in Bengaluru around 13 years ago and this had become its second largest centre globally after the US. The centre has an estimated headcount of around 2,000.
Sharad Sharma, former India head of Yahoo R&D, said, “Materially, it is not going to make much of a difference. This is just a shift to a different home.” However, he felt that that the deal could set a platform for Yahoo to scale its operations in India as Verizon is keen to increase its share of content in the internet space.
The Bengaluru centre of the once-popular search engine has been making important contributions to Yahoo’s global products as well as for the emerging markets. The India centre has created more than 20 products across various platforms like polyads, Yahoo predict and a product focused on cricket.
However, Yahoo’s India centre has been hit by restructuring efforts with the company laying off employees in 2014 and certain similar actions were also expected in the current year. Even prior to that, there were layoffs. The company has been a poaching ground for senior-level talent from rival technologies companies like Google for long. Prasad Ram, who was in Yahoo India in a senior position, had moved to Google. Similarly, Hari Vasudev who once headed Yahoo’s R&D centre in India, moved to Flipkart.
“Given the ups and down Yahoo India has seen over the years with not much of stability, the company has been the place for rivals to scoop up talent,” said Amitabh Das, CEO, Vati, an HR consulting firm.
Verizon began its Indian operations in 2001 and was primarily focused on the telecom domain. Verizon Data Services India is a captive IT unit with its main centre in Chennai and presence in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. They provide internet protocol, data, voice and wireless communication solutions.
Verizon also got into the enterprise data services in India following its acquisition of America Online in June, 2015. Besides, the telecom giant has got its technology centre of excellence called Verizon India Labs. This was established in 2013 and develops solutions for its various range of products and networks.