Some of you may recall my posts mourning the deaths of AIM, AOL’s old instant messaging service, and Yahoo Instant Messenger, Yahoo’s former messaging service. This happened because Verizon bought both companies and merged them into a conglomerate called Oath, which was supposed to be a platform for Verizon to challenge Google and Facebook in the online advertising space.
The old legacy services of AOL and Yahoo, such as the instant messenger services, we no longer needed and were wound down.
It’s been awhile since the merger took place, and there haven’t been many stories about what Verizon/Oath were up to since the mergers and acquisitions took place. The reason for that has become apparent as the integration is not going very well, as Verizon is apparently having second thoughts about the platform and Oath CEO Tim Armstrong is preparing to leave the job:
More than a year later, Oath’s placement in the broader ad industry seems more uncertain than ever. Armstrong is in talks to leave the company, according to sources close to the matter. And Verizon plans to integrate parts of Oath’s business into the larger company.
“The goal was to challenge Google and Facebook,” a former senior Oath employee who worked in communications, told Business Insider. “No one in the industry thinks they are a competitor.”
In fact, the integration between AOL and Yahoo has never been on solid footing, according to former senior AOL employees who spoke with Business Insider.
Dysfunction at Oath, according to these employees, can be traced to three main problems at the company: Yahoo’s culture, high employee turnover, and an inconsistent strategy at Oath.
And fear of constant layoffs affected morale at the company. Following the acquisition thousands of employees were cut across AOL and Yahoo.
“It’s a harsh environment to work in,” the former communications employee said. “No one wants to take creative risks. Any sort of mistake you’d be like ‘I’ll be on the next list for layoffs.'”
Inconsistent strategy at Oath also posed a challenge to employees there. Messaging changed from week to week and stymied the integration, according to the insides.
“At Oath, I couldn’t articulate the strategy,” according to the former communications employee, who said that at their new company they can clearly state their business’s priorities.