So much of the news surrounding Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Yahoo has focused on the executive strategies and broader business ramifications that it's easy to forget about the rank-and-file workers.
Yet they will play a key role in any deal that results, according to a Forbes article.
Layoffs will likely be involved, as they are in nearly every merger. While it's logical to assume that employees from the acquired company will be axed, experts say that's far from a sure bet in this case.
Microsoft would do well to remember Yahoo's strong reputation and the expertise it has in online advertising. Says IDC analyst Karsten Weide:
Microsoft is an engineering company. They don't know how to sell ads. What drives this business is media, understanding what advertisers and consumers want.
A Burton Group analyst says it's Microsoft MSN portal employees, rather than Yahoo staffers, that should worry about having their positions eliminated. An executive from search engine start-up Spock tells Forbes that he's received plenty of resumes from both Microsoft and Yahoo workers.
Yahoo just went through a significant round of layoffs earlier this year, cutting 1,000 of its 14,000 workers in February. It has also seen disruption in the executive suite, with Terry Semel being ousted as CEO in June and then leaving Yahoo's board of directors in February.