Google Eliminates a Thousand Jobs in Hardware Teams

Google Eliminates a Thousand Jobs in Hardware Teams

Google is reportedly letting go of hundreds of employees as the company implements cost containment measures as well as focuses on AI development. A workers’ representative at parent company Alphabet revealed 1,000 have been let go so far.

Part of the employees are those in the engineering departments and hardware teams. The company has indicated the affected teams include those in the voice-based Google Assistant.

Since the beginning of last year, the team at Alphabet has been on the edge after the company announced its plans to cut about 12,000 jobs, equivalent to more than 6% of the group’s global workforce.

Stiff competition in the sector

The job cuts at Google come as the company’s search business is facing strong competition from AI offerings like Microsoft’s Bing, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and other chatbots. Its planned focus on AI also comes as the segment is fast-growing, spurred by ChatGPT, which resulted in other tech firms investing in AI to rival the firm.

Now Google wants to consolidate its position on the market as a search engine giant and in the AI segment too.

According to an article by SCMP, Google executives, in their recent calls with investors, revealed they were looking at areas to make cuts “and free up resources to invest in their biggest priorities.”

“Throughout the second half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient, work better, and align their resources to their biggest product priorities,” said a spokesperson in a statement.

“Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally.”

Also read: OpenAI Negotiates News Content Licensing with CNN, Fox, and Time

Cutting across levels

The company is implementing job cuts across levels, according to reports. SCMP indicates the job cuts are affecting both “rank-and-file and executives.”

According to disclosures filed by the company in California, about 630 employees were relieved of their duties this week.

These include four vice presidents and 25 directors. A person with knowledge cited by the SCMP said these levels earn millions of dollars in compensation.

Among the workers dismissed are Fames Park and Eric Friedman, who are co-founders of Fitbit, a smartwatch company Google acquired in 2019 for $2.1 billion. The two are leaving the firm as part of its reorganization.

Since last year, Alphabet has been trimming its workforce, including teams that are focused on recruiting and news products. The larger round of job cuts announced last year was announced by the group CEO himself, Sundar Pichai, while this year’s job cuts were announced by lower-level leaders like vice presidents and human resources personnel.

Industry-wide trend

At Google, employees reportedly whispered to each other about the job cuts via social networks, Discord chats, and hallways. One employee dismissed this week said he sensed trouble when he failed to access his work email, only to find a message notifying him of his dismissal in a personal email.

Now the sacked employees are looking at “Plan B.” But Google employees are not the only ones affected, as the tech industry has been laying off employees to cut costs, partly due to AI automating processes.

This year, Amazon is eliminating hundreds of jobs from its Prime Video and MGM Studios. This follows mass job cuts that were first effected in 2022–2023, which resulted in 27,000 employees losing their jobs.

As for the latest job cuts at Amazon, a memo from the company indicated the firm has been reviewing its business and identified areas of opportunity to “reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing investment in product initiatives that deliver the most impact.”

“As a result of these decisions, we will be eliminating several hundred roles across the Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios organizations,” reads part of the memo.

“Today, we will begin to reach out to colleagues who are impacted by these role reductions. This is a difficult decision to make and one that my leadership team and I do not take lightly.”

Another tech firm, Meta Platforms, is also reportedly cutting off jobs at Instagram, including technical program managers, in another round of layoffs.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.