Don’t ask – Ask.com bows out of search industry


10 Nov 2010

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Ask.com, the once highly popular search engine, is to lay off 130 of its engineers and give most of its search business to competitors, such as Google and Bing.

According to Bloomberg, IAC, which owns Ask.com, will let go its engineers from Edison, New Jersey, and in Hangzhou, China, and will cease work on its algorithmic search technology.

The search unit’s engineering operations will be consolidated at its headquarters in California to focus on developing its question and answer-based service.

This downsizing has been attributed to the might of Google search and how Ask.com struggled to compete.

Ask.com will keep its search box on the site and deliver search results from its competitors, though which competitor will undertake this task wasn’t specified.

The site, originally called Ask Jeeves, was launched in 1996 and focused on search queries based on asking a question.

It once took on 2 million search queries per day. However, its technology had lost relevance and it found it could not increase its market share, particularly since the burst of the tech bubble.

The site was purchased for $1.85 billion in 2005 by IAC, but the company could not make it profitable.