Google makes a breaking announcement about laying off 12,000 staff

Jan 20, 2023

While we’ve been watching big tech companies firing staff left, right, and center, it’s hard to believe that Google and Alphabet are next on that list. In a recent announcement, the CEO indicated that more than 12,000 staff have received an email telling them that their journey with Google is over. It also explains why such drastic measures have been taken.

Sundar Pichai laid it all out in the communication to the staff. He mentions how difficult the decision was and why only some employees were selected. Apparently, it has to do with choosing which ones were the highest priorities, needed to keep the company afloat. As for the rest in the United States and abroad, they had to go.

Here’s an interesting video I’d like you to watch:

As you can see, it seeks to answer the questions we’re all asking. Specifically, it looks at why these big companies are suddenly firing such a mass amount of employees. One of the answers seems to be that these businesses hired too quickly when the economy kicked in again, taking a chance on the new AI tech that appeared.

You’ll see in Pichai’s message that he does indeed mention investing in AI as one of the reasons for firing Google staff. Perhaps, now with the AI doing most of the work for them, they no longer need those humans they employed at the beginning. Wouldn’t that be ironic? The same staff hired during the start of the AI influx are now the ones they don’t need.

Google has indicated that they’re first letting the US employees go. It seems like it’s an easier process than firing staff overseas. It will be interesting to see how many of them come back with lawsuits, contesting being let go. At least there are decent packages and bonuses in place, and the employees don’t need to leave immediately.

You’ll notice how Pichai mentions economic cycles, as if it’s a known fact that these types of things happen from time to time. If that is the case, one wonders why they couldn’t plan for these types of cycles. I guess it’s not something you can predict. However, if I was working for any big tech company right now engaging in AI investments, I’d be very worried.


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  1. JamesR said on January 26, 2023 at 12:09 am

    The embedded video was difficult to watch. The woman constantly pushing her hair back was so distracting, I couldn’t watch anymore. It’s not the first time. She should be aware this is a major distraction if she does lots of videos (I didn’t care to check).

  2. John said on January 21, 2023 at 10:42 am

    These tech companies have had terrible business models. Google has mostly relied on one revenue source which is web-based ads. Many of Google’s projects never became profit driven.
    Meta has had a similar problem, as well as Twitter. Too many people, too little revenue to justify all of them. Apple survives these down trends far better because they sell profitable products. As the old saying goes, can’t give away the store and expect to pay the help.

  3. Jody Thornton said on January 20, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Now Shaun! That was a good article. I almost feel like I’m going to clutch my chest in shock!

  4. VioletMoon said on January 20, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    Alphabet and Microsoft both let go of about 5-6% of their workforce–not extraordinary. It’s the cost in severance that makes layoffs pointless: “Microsoft’s severance packages will cost it more than $1 billion.”

    I’d rather find a way to make my “extras” productive. Over-hiring is a common practice; in the end, it saves companies billions of dollars if the company has cross-over training in place.

    AI isn’t going to save the day for any company. What does help, and is more important, are CEOs such as Tim Cook: “Apple CEO Tim Cook takes 40% pay cut.” That’s a $60 billion savings! One employee saved Apple more than all the layoffs Alphabet and Microsoft made.

    The “pawns” are most important in chess. Likewise.

    1. MikeO said on January 20, 2023 at 9:02 pm

      Cook took the hit in his “Share Award” His stock award target has been reduced from $75m to $40m, with three-quarters of that dependent on share performance. Last year, advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services raised “significant concerns” over the “design and magnitude” of Mr Cook’s package. It said his pay was 1,447 times more than the wage of an average Apple employee. Mr Cook’s annual basic salary of $3m, and up to $6m bonus remain unchanged.

      1. VioletMoon said on January 21, 2023 at 3:57 pm

        “It said his pay was 1,447 times more than the wage of an average Apple employee. Mr Cook’s annual basic salary of $3m, and up to $6m bonus remain unchanged.”

        See, I’m okay with these numbers; I’m okay with Bill Gate’s fortune . . . think of the innovation occurring because of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The claim could be made: Anyone can be a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates!” Perhaps, but not “anyone” is.

        The innovation of two companies has raised the awareness and productive capacity of the entire world to unheard of extremes. The average low-salaried worker who may have transcribed 30 pages per day can now transcribe 300 flawless pages per day [classic example].

        Forget about exploitation; the worker hasn’t “worked” any longer or harder to produce more; he/she has only been enabled by innovation to produce more. That the “more” profit goes to shareholders and CEOs is “fair,” but only if individuals in the economy are willing to take the same risks as the other shareholders and the CEOs.

        Old article, but worth noting:

        “Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself. For me, it’s about products and people. Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people’s lives?”

        Think of how enriched our lives are because of Cook, Nadella, Pichai, Jassy, and Musk. Where would society be without the vision Musk brought to the world–the risk he took in making the EV available to all?

        We all benefit from the visionary!

        The seemingly outrageous sums being paid is a sideline issue.

  5. Cor Invictus said on January 20, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Those who are now “dismissing” others, will, one day, receive similar mail from an AI CEO, called KarmaAI.

    Seriously though, is anyone surprised by all this?! The biggest perk of centralization is less people to pay to, and what could possibly be better to achieve that than an AI automated workflow/services?
    I’m actually surprised that it’s only 12,000, tbh!

    1. Someone said on January 22, 2023 at 2:57 pm

      AI CEO, might do better than humans, at some point ;)

    2. John G. said on January 20, 2023 at 3:39 pm

      There is no reason at all to maintain this absolutely high number of employees in companys that are obviously overrated. Anyway it’s quite weird to understand how Google spends millions and millions in silly stuff, or Elon Musk destroying his fortune in the bottomless pit of Twitter, or Microsoft buying companys wasting millions and millions like there was no tomorrow. Something fails here.

  6. John G. said on January 20, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    Bad times. Next Twitter and Facebook.

    1. EichBat said on January 21, 2023 at 2:23 am

      How will chromium keep up to date with the monthly dozens, and hundreds/thousands of high CVEs and zero-day exploits per year. Time to ditch your insecure browser and use Firefox

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