NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ask.com, long relegated to also-ran status in the search-engine war, is cutting 130 engineering jobs and outsourcing its search technology.
The news, first reported by Bloomberg and later confirmed by the company, is a concession that the 14-year-old search engine can't catch up to leaders like Google and Microsoft's Bing. Like Yahoo, which outsourced its search technology to Microsoft, Ask.com will stop working on its search algorithm and instead hire a third-party company to provide that technology.
A spokeswoman for Ask.com, which digital conglomerate IAC (IAC) bought in 2005, said the company was laying off engineers based in Edison, N.J., and in China. She declined to comment on which companies it is approaching about a search partnership.
Ask.com plans to focus on developing its online question-and-answer service, in which actual humans field customers' queries. An "ask the community" program launched in July.
"We know that receiving answers to questions is why Ask.com users come to the site, and we are now serving them in everything we do," company president Doug Leeds said in a blog post on Tuesday.
According to data tracker ComScore, Ask.com had just 3.7% of the search market in September, while Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) commanded almost 65% share. Still, Ask is still the sixth-largest Web property in the world, according to Compete.com.
In July, Leeds told CNNMoney that 30% of the site's current traffic comes in the form of questions entered into Ask.com's search box. He thinks people first go to Google in an effort to find answers, but if that doesn't work they head to Ask.com.
It's a big bet -- many sites, including Google, have tried and failed to create a community-powered "answers" platform.
Powerball jackpot tops $400 million, as change in the game to create longer odds against winning allows for more frequent big prizes. More
Trump supporters say they found deductibles and out-of-pocket costs under Obamacare to be unaffordable, according to a new Kaiser survey. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
America's three biggest banks -- JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo -- earned over $6.4 billion last year from ATM and overdraft fees, according to an analysis by CNNMoney. More