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Can Hiring Scientists Help Save Yahoo?

Realizing that acquisitions aren’t enough, Marissa Mayer has already hired 30 researchers with PhDs to boost innovation, and is looking to hire 20 more.

Can Hiring Scientists Help Save Yahoo?

Marissa Mayer is upping Yahoo’s brains quotient. The CEO is busy hiring PhD scientists to improve the company’s research and development abilities. The motiviations behind this move? High-profile acquisitions like Tumblr, Summly, and Snip.It are not enough: Innovation has to be in the firm’s DNA.

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Some of the jobs on offer at Yahoo include a media scientist, a mobile researcher, and experts in personalization and pricing.

While Yahoo budgeted 18% of its sales spend on product development last year–higher than Google’s 14%–its $885.8 million is still small-ish potatoes compared to some tech firms (Facebook devotes over a quarter of its spend to R&D). Since Mayer took the reins, she has hired 30 researchers, with another 20 expected to join the firm by the end of 2013.

Yahoo’s research and development department, Yahoo Labs, withered under the firm’s previous CEO, Scott Thompson. The Labs head, Prabhakar Raghavan, jumped ship to Google. His replacement, Ron Brachman, an old DARPA and AT&T hand, has been at the firm for several years now, and was one of the driving forces behind the firm’s research group.

[Image: Flickr user idovermani]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.

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