Yahoo!, the company behind one of the world’s most visited website has decided to create 400 jobs in Dublin. More than 75pc of the jobs will be for graduates covering a panoply of careers ranging from editorial to IT and financial services. The company would not confirm, however, whether it would be building its own data centre or acquiring one of the many leftover data centres from the data centre boom in 2000.
The capture of Yahoo! comes as a significant coup for the Government and the efforts of IDA Ireland that is understood to have been chasing the project for over a year.
Yahoo!’s arrival completes Ireland’s impressive arsenal of global technology brands that have selected the country as a base from which to reach markets across EMEA. As well as strong presences by technology stalwarts such as Intel, Microsoft, Apple and IBM, the country’s line up of web giants includes Google, eBay, MSN and Amazon.
Yahoo! is one of the world’s best-known internet brands, with some 2.85 billion page views per day in December 2004. Also regarded as one of the world’s fastest-growing companies, Yahoo! is keen to expand into a variety of business areas and has more than 100 distinct products, starting with its MyYahoo! service, which enables self content management up to strong financial and news services that spread across the fixed and wireless internet world.
While no location has been decided – in a similar vein to when Google first announced its decision to come to Ireland – the project has been described as a “complex operation”, comprising financial, shared services, web hosting and customer support and will create more than 400 jobs over five years.
Yahoo! already has a separate subsidiary in Dublin, which employs 250 people. Yahoo!’s chief operations officer Dan Rosenweig told a press conference in Dublin yesterday that the positive experiences of its Overture subsidiary – which focuses on the aggressive world of online advertising and sponsored searches – were a key factor influencing the company’s ultimate decision to come to Ireland.
The Irish operation will be responsible for Yahoo!’s European business in three main areas: a shared-services centre responsible for accounting and revenue activities and statutory reporting; a web-hosting centre supporting databases for Yahoo!’s family of websites as well as other applications and systems; and a customer support centre, comprising a centralised multilingual support service and a website editorial team.
On the subject of whether Yahoo will build its own data centre or buy one of the many data centres strewn across Dublin, Rosenweig would not be drawn. He said: “Our growth rate has made data centre capacity a big issue in our industry. However, the answer to that kind of question is commercially sensitive in our industry.”
If operations such as Yahoo!, eBay or Google were attracted to Dublin for the significant data centre infrastructure available it would validate IDA Ireland’s strategy of 1999 and 2000, which was cruelly interrupted by the telecoms and dot.com downturn of 2001. When the downturn hit, some 12 out of 22 data centres were forced to close, resulting in millions of euro worth of redundant data centres strewn across the city.
Also present at the briefing was John Marcom, senior vice-president of Yahoo!, who highlighted Yahoo!’s stature as one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. “Last year we made over US$1bn in EBITDA profit. Over a year earlier the company was US$900m in debt.”
Describing the investment, Marcom continued: “Our diverse online portfolio positions us well to achieve success in our strategy for future growth and this Irish operation is an integral part of that strategy and will be instrumental in our success.
“Our decision to locate the European operation’s headquarters in Ireland was influenced by several factors – the success of our existing operation in Dublin, Overture Services, which has surpassed all our forecasted operating targets; the calibre and volume of graduates available in Ireland; the up-to-date and cost-competitive telecoms and data centre infrastructure available and the assistance of IDA Ireland,” Marcom said.
By John Kennedy