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Alta Vista cuts workforce, refocuses strategy

Alta Vista has announced that it will abandon the portal market to concentrate on the search engine sector, with the loss of 225 jobs.

AltaVista, one of the first and best known search engines on the web, has announced that it is to cut 25% of its workforce and refocus on its core business.

The company is making the move to try and attain the dot.com holy grail of profitability by January 2001. It will also consolidate all of its office into its Palo Alto headquarters.

Some 225 employees out of 900 will be made redundant in the restructure. AltaVista had moved into the portal business last year, but had failed to make significant ground against market leaders AOL, Yahoo, Lycos or MSN. The company will now return to focus on the search engine sector – 93% of all activity on AltaVista was still search queries, and the site still handles 50 million queries per day.

Analysts had been predicting a shake up in the portal market for some time, and Alta Vista had already indefinitely postponed its IPO in April.

CEO Rod Shrock said that he was confident that the changes could bring AltaVista to profitability by the early next year. The company has posted 34% revenue growth quarter-over-quarter for the past six quarters.

"While many of these business decisions have been difficult, we are now in a position to unleash our search expertise with a clear, singular focus to penetrate every layer of the search market for both consumers and businesses," said Shrock.