MySpace will reportedly lay off more than half of its employees on Tuesday as the website scales back its social networking ambitions.
All Things D reports that the layoffs could extend to 600 people (of the site's current staff of 1,000). MySpace will reportedly spin the news as "restructuring" to shed "legacy" products. After that, News Corp. will set to work on selling the site--perhaps even to Yahoo--All Things D reports. (Although I'm not sure Yahoo is in the position to buy, after it abandoned search in December.)
The layoffs aren't all that surprising now that MySpace has given up on competing with Facebook. In October the site announced a redesign that nearly abandoned the format of friend pages and wall posts. The new MySpace is focused on actively discovering new music and videos, a concept that I think few people, outside of a small demographic, have much time for.
Any doubts that MySpace was no longer competing with Facebook were erased in November, when MySpace announced a feature that delivers entertainment recommendations based on your Facebook profile information. The announcement essentially conceded that MySpace can no longer stand on its own as a social network.
I'm certainly not alone in having doubts about MySpace's new approach, and there's no question that a smaller-scale Website needs a leaner staff. This is too bad for the folks who work there--nobody likes to see layoffs in any company--but the writing was on the wall.