Google lays off hundreds of employees, fires Fitbit co-founders

Google announced on Wednesday that it is laying off hundreds of employees across multiple departments, including engineering and hardware. The Alphabet-owned company has also fired Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman, reported Reuters.

Google has announced that it will cut hundreds of jobs across multiple teams (Reuters)(REUTERS)
Google has announced that it will cut hundreds of jobs across multiple teams (Reuters)(REUTERS)

Google is implementing job cuts across several teams as a cost cutting measure for the company. In the recent layoffs, the Voice Assistant team and hardware team for Pixel, Nest and Fitbit will be the most impacted.

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The company said in a statement that hundreds will be laid off across hardware and engineering, while majority of the people in the augmented reality (AR) team will be let go. Hundreds of roles in the search giant’s central engineering team are also being impacted, the company said.

While Google bought out Fitbit in 2021 for $2.1 billion, it continues to roll out updated versions of the Google Pixel watch, which is one of the prime competitors of Fitbit and Apple Watch.

“Throughout second-half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities. Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally,” a spokesperson for Google told Reuters in a statement.

The total number of job cuts has not been announced yet by Google, and it is not clear as to how many people are currently employed in the Voice Assistant and hardware departments.

Layoffs across IT and tech giants

The economic slowdown in the United States and European Union has made a significant dent in the profits and revenue of major IT and tech companies over the last year.

The reorganization of certain teams comes at a time when companies like Microsoft and Google are betting on the rising adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology following the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Last year, a report by The Information suggested that Google may be laying off nearly 30,000 employees across all teams in 2024 after it plans to add generative AI capabilities to its virtual assistant. AI reliance is causing restructuring inside the company, leading to job cuts, the report said.

In January 2023, Alphabet announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs, equivalent to 6% of its global workforce, which became the biggest layoff in the history of the company.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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