In a move that will come as a major blow to Jordan’s ICT ambitions, Yahoo, the tech giant that bought Maktoob for millions, has announced it will be shuttering its Amman office by the end of the year.
Yahoo said the move was part of a worldwide reorganization of its operations in a rapidly changing sector. “This decision is part of Yahoo’s global efforts to streamline operations that will help us execute more quickly and efficiently,” the California-based company said in a statement, adding that it remained committed to users and advertisers in the MENA market.
Yahoo said it was offering to relocate some of its 80 plus employees working at its soon-to-be disbanded office, which was opened in 2010 and sits alongside the likes of Microsoft and other tech companies at the King Hussein Business Park.
Yahoo also stressed it would continue supporting the operations of Maktoob from its remaining regional bases, including Dubai. Yahoo acquired the Jordanian-founded Arabic Internet portal in 2009 in a multimillion-dollar deal that sparked great interest in the Kingdom’s emerging tech scene.
Even though Jordan’s ICT companies are having a fairly rough time of late (industry revenues in 2013 were down 4 percent to $2.2 billion on the previous year), Yahoo’s decision should still be seen more as a sign of continuing trouble within the company rather than as any judgment on the sector’s long-term prospects.
Yahoo is widely viewed as a legacy company struggling to find a footing in a fast moving industry, increasingly filled with younger and more dynamic upstarts like Facebook.
The announcement of the Amman office closure comes after the company, led by divisive CEO Marrisa Mayer, shut down its Cairo operations last year. Some 400 more positions at Yahoo’s Bangalore offices are also being eliminated.