Ask Jeeves shows staff the door

About 180 full-time employees have lost their jobs in the hope that by creating the separate companies, Business Solutions and Web Properties, Ask Jeeves will be able to save approximately $US45 million in 2001 and grow 30 per cent per year thereafter, the company said in a statement.

The move comes a week after the company announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Rob Wrubel, in light of its warning that fourth-quarter losses were going to be much higher than analyst expectations. Specifically, on 7 December, Ask Jeeves warned of a $US18 million loss.

The company expects to reach profitability in the fourth quarter of 2001, with the Business Solutions side garnering revenue from licensing its Ask Jeeves technology and Targeting Solutions focusing on Ask.com, DirectHit.com and AJKids.com, the company said.

In a general slow-down for the dot-com economy, it has been a particularly difficult quarter for employees working at search engine companies. In September, Web portal and search engine, AltaVista also cut its US staff by 25 per cent which resulted in the loss of work for 225 people.

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Laura Rohde

PC World

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