Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has become the latest tech giant to cut staff, cutting about 12,000 jobs, facing a “different economic reality” after the pandemic.
Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company since 2015, announced in a memo that it would cut about 12,000 jobs in the face of a “different economic reality” after a surge in hiring caused by the pandemic. Job cuts will affect 6% of the company’s employees, and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai says he takes “full responsibility” for the decisions that led to the layoffs.
The cuts came as Alphabet, a longtime leader in critical areas of artificial intelligence (AI) development, faces competition from Microsoft. Microsoft is reportedly hoping to increase its stake in ChatGPT, a chatbot that responds to queries like a human. However, Microsoft also recently announced job cuts.
Meanwhile, Alphabet’s main source of revenue for a long time has been advertising dollars—something that companies are cutting back on while consumers are cutting back on their spending.
“Obviously, Alphabet is not immune from a tough economic backdrop, as concerns about a recession in the US are growing,” says Suzanne Streeter, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, noting that Alphabet has also accrued billions in regulatory fines. “Advertising growth has increased dramatically, competition is also heating up: Alphabet faces a strong rival in TikTok, and Instagram is also fighting for its important viewers on YouTube.”
Pichai also teased that Google is preparing to “share a whole new experience for users, developers and businesses.” It is reported that in the spring the company was working on a significant AI launch, planning to introduce more than 20 new products and a search engine with chatbot functions.
With the planned layoffs of Alphabet employees, job cuts at the Big Four American tech companies currently account for 51,000 lost jobs, led by Amazon, and Facebook owner Meta laid off many employees in November. Apple has been the only tech giant that has so far refrained from cutting jobs, hiring employees more prudently during the pandemic. However, there have been reports that the iPhone maker has begun laying off off-season retail employees at stores such as Best Buy.