So how do you waste $1.85 billion? Well if you are Barry Diller you acquire Ask.com, the little known and little used search engine, and then years later after failing to compete with Google you close up shop.
Bloomberg is reporting today that IAC, Diller’s company, will be cutting 130 jobs and in the process conceding what little search business it has to its competitors.
Ask.com, a unit of Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, is dismissing engineers based in Edison, New Jersey, and in Hangzhou, China, and ceasing work on its algorithmic search technology, according to Ask.com President Doug Leeds.
The search unit will consolidate its engineering operations at its headquarters in Oakland, California, and focus its resources on developing its online question-and-answer service. Twenty of the engineers currently working in New Jersey will be asked to relocate to Oakland, the company said.
Leeds said that Google has become too powerful a competitor to justify Ask.com’s continued pursuit of those search users.
“It’s become this huge juggernaut of a company that we really thought we could compete against by innovating,” Leeds said in an interview. “We did a great job of holding our market share but it wasn’t enough to grow the way IAC had hoped we would grow when it bought us.”