Yahoo Opens R&D In Grenoble; UK Too Expensive, Too Few Engineers?

Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) yesterday opened an R&D facility in Grenoble, France, claiming the region is becoming the “Silicon Valley of Europe” with a big pool of engineers. The new site will work on what Yahoo called its “key strategic priorities” – internationalising Yahoo Answers and developing search, specifically semantic search. It’s also thought Yahoo’s Kelkoo shopping comparison site will be developed from there, though we know Kelkoo had a development centre in Grenoble at least as far back as 2004.

With Microsoft also looking to build a Search Technology Centre (STC) somewhere on this continent to make better linkages between Live Search and advertising, it’s clear Europe is becoming the battleground for search portal technology.

What with Yahoo’s recent move of managers out of London and in to Geneva to save money, is this yet another move away from the UK? “We’re not divesting from London,” international engineering SVP John Linwood (pictured at the official opening) told “We have and continue to have a strong research presence there (but) you can’t get it all in one location. Worldwide, the Yahoo strategy is to be in a number of places around the world where we can tap talent pools.”

Still, engineering VP Tim O’Donoghue said: “You can see a number of other companies are considering their position within the UK. A number have gone to Ireland and it’s for those sort of reasons that the business looked at where best to locate the headquarters.” The UK’s strengths are consumer web development and mobile, Linwood said.