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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

RIP: Lycos-Armenia

A1plus: "A leading IT Company Lycos-Armenia is closing down. The administration has informed the staff about the company's closure at a special meeting minutes ago. Employees were notified of the menace of closure weeks ago. Lycos-Armenia is a development and operations center for the business units of Lycos Europe. The company employs some 1000 people [Unzipped: other sources put the number at around 700 people], the best specialists of the sphere. Presently, the company neither confirms nor denies the information. Details will be given later in the day."

Here are some relevant world news headlines:

Lycos Europe admits defeat in search for investor

Lycos Europe Cries “Uncle!”

Lycos Europe to close portal, end Web hosting

7 comments:

Ani said...

The employment figures quoted--are they for Armenia only? Whether it's 1000 or 700 that's a huge figure :(

artmika said...

I assume, these are overall figures for Lycos. According to the website of Lycos-Armenia, "Lycos Armenia is a development and operations center for the business units of Lycos Europe. About 200 people are working here to develop and maintain Lycos products such as the Chat, E-mail, hosting services, etc."

Ironically, they still list 5 local job vacances, need to be filled "ASAP".

Still, even 200 is a big number, and it's not only a matter of numbers, it's a significant setback for IT industry in Armenia.

Myrthe said...

I work at Lycos Armenia. :-( There are about 250 people at the Yerevan office. Actually we didn't hear about it until yesterday. Lycos as a whole employs a lot more than 1000 people, I think. From what I know, 700 is the number of people working at Lycos Europeanwide for the sections being sold/closed down.

So, if anyone knows of a job for me, I am available. ;-)

garen said...

There are circa 150 employees in Lycos-Armenia.
Still, I agree with ArtMika, this is a significant setback for IT industry in Armenia. These are not just 150 low-skill labourers that are going to loose their jobs - these are IT professionals.

And IMHO for IT industry to grow, there must be companies like Lycos around, even though theoretically they pose barriers for new companies to emerge. But this is also why many Web2.0 startups choose to locate themselves in Silicone Valley, in Palo Alto or in and around San Francisco - because everyone else is there! The question is that of Labour and skills: wherever you have giants with easy access to venture capital, those giants also are a place where professional can improve their skills and maintain that industry edge, and later be hired by other younger startups. And that's why many startups start emerging around giants.

And there's also another aspect of IT investment especially among Web2.0 startups: Yes, IT likes outsourcing (into cheaper countries), but they also like open and democratic environments, which give least amount of hussle and hurdle. With the way that Armenia's current telecom industry, tax and business registration is set up, it is not really a prime location that a startup would look to base itself in. There's too much governemnt intervention in deciding who gets which share of the pie - and the favours usually go to the big players, often at the expence of small startups.

The way that Ireland grew from being the poorest country in Europe into a booming hi-tech capital of European IT was because they set up a set of radical offshore plans for foreign companies, especially in IT. Soon Dell, Microsoft and many others established their European offices not in Germany or UK, but in Dublin. Now with strengthening EU laws, Irish offshore laws are phasing out, and investors are looking to the immediate neighbours of EU to set up their officies.

Myrthe said...

Correction to my previous comment: Lycos Europe employs some 700 people.

artmika said...

I remember, Myrthe :( Fingers crossed re new job. So glad to read that you will stay in Armenia.

I like this line you put it:

Myrthe is on the market now ;)

Myrthe said...

Thanks, Mika. I hope everything will turn out alright for all those affected.