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"I've been at the company for seven years, and we've reorganized the company every single year. It's a different business every year and you always have to examine your priorities."
——AOL's Barry Schuler
AOL, YAHOO/LAUNCH, GETMUSIC/ROLLINGSTONE.COM HAND OUT PINK SLIPS
Layoff Victims Now Outnumber Those Remaining in Dot-Com Sector, Unofficial Numbers Show

Amid layoff rumors and a subsequent stock slide (hitsdailydouble.com, 8/14), America Online has announced it would cut 1,200 jobs—about 8% of its work force, and about 200 more jobs than previously estimated—in the company’s largest restructuring in recent years.

But that ain’t all: In a terrifying harmonic convergence of sackings, number-two portal Yahoo has shitcanned 14 from its recently acquired Launch Media unit, and plans to send another 36 packing before the end of the year, while Vivendi Universal companies GetMusic and Rollingstone.com are reportedly combining their operations and will escort some 40 unfortunates, or 20% of their combined staffs from their buildings.

Oh, AOL also said that iPlanet, an e-commerce software entity co-formed with Sun Microsystems in 1999, would also cut about 500 employees, which constitutes more than half of its employees.

Indeed, the streets are already teeming with glassy-eyed jobless zombies shellshocked from the unspeakably loud bursting of the dot-com bubble over the past 12 months and more, but if these latest reports are any indication, that shockwave has yet to dissipate. Markets are down, portfolios are dripping red ink, companies are folding—but thank the good lord, Dubya has assured the futures of his oil ‘n’ gas buddies, so at least that’s something.

AOL says it will likely face $100-$125 million in third quarter restructuring costs. This is the company’s second major round of layoffs this year. The company cut a horrifying 2,400 jobs in January.

After last month’s report of lower-than-expected revenue growth, AOLTW Chairman/CEO Gerald Levin said he was "making cost management a permanent way of life" and didn't exclude the possibility of future layoffs. However, AOL CEO Barry Schuler says the current layoffs were not a result of cost management or a difficult advertising climate, but that reorganizing and trimming staff is an annual event at AOL—kind of like the company picnic, only less agonizing.

"I've been at the company for seven years, and we've reorganized the company every single year," said Schuler. "It's a different business every year and you always have to examine your priorities. Even if we were not merged with Time Warner...we'd be doing exactly the same thing."

AOL has consolidated some formerly separate units—such as Netscape, Mapquest and Moviefone—into a single unit, and created new units, including AOL Broadband, to focus on new businesses. Schuler said the new set of divisions are poised to exploit the "next chapter of the Internet."

While AOL busies itself with that, we’ll still be skimming through the introduction.

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