The long-anticipated purge, announced yesterday, will jettison about 15 per cent of Yahoo's workforce along with an assortment of services that Mayer decided aren't worth the time and money that the Internet company has been putting into them.

Mayer hopes to sell some of Yahoo's unwanted services for about USD 1 billion, though she didn't identify which ones. In an apparent concession to some shareholders, Mayer also said Yahoo's board will mull "strategic alternatives" that could result in the sale of all the company's Internet operations.

Analysts have speculated that Verizon, AT&T and Comcast might be interested in buying Yahoo's main business, despite years of deterioration.

Mayer expressed confidence that her plan to run Yahoo as a smaller, more focused company "will dramatically brighten our future and improve our competitiveness, and attractiveness to users, advertisers, and partners."

Some of Yahoo's most outspoken shareholders, such as SpringOwl Asset Management, already have concluded that Mayer should be laid off, too. Mayer, a former rising star at Google who helped Google eclipse Yahoo, has given no indication she intends to leave.

Even after the mass firings are completed by the end of March, Yahoo will still have about 9,000 workers – three times the roughly 3,000 people that SpringOwl believes the company should be employing, based on its steadily declining revenue.

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