Alphabet inc is Google's parent company.

SCIENCE & TECH: Google parent Alphabet to lay off 12,000 workers

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Google’s parent company Alphabet announced that it will be laying off 12,000 workers — joining other tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon who said this week they would be handing out pink slips to a combined 28,000 people.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai circulated a memo to staffers at the Mountain View, Calif.-based company indicating that the layoffs would be implemented immediately for workers in the company’s US offices.

The jobs being eliminated “cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions,” Pichai said.

Google employees in other countries whose jobs are on the chopping block will undergo a more lengthy termination process “due to local laws and practices,” according to Pichai.

Alphabet’s workforce ballooned during the pandemic to nearly 187,000 people by late last year from 119,000 at the end of 2019, according to the most recent regulatory filings.

Axed workers will receive 16 weeks of severance pay in addition to two weeks for each additional year of service at Google, the CEO said.

Alphabet inc is Google’s parent company.

“This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with,” Pichai wrote in his memo. “I’m deeply sorry for that.” 

Pichai added: “The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”

The Google boss said that the company’s rapid growth in recent years led it to hire a number of employees “for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”

In recent months, Pichai has bobbed and weaved while avoiding explicitly answering employee questions about possible layoffs during all-hands meetings and town halls.

Google management last fall stoked employee fears of pending layoffs after it froze hiring and urged its teams to be more productive during work hours.

Chris McDonald, a Boulder, Col.-based software engineer employed by Google, tweeted on Friday that he was informed by email that he was out of a job.

The tweet from McDonald read: “wow f–k me I just got laid off. Mass layoffs happening at Google apparently.”

In a follow-up tweet, McDonald wrote: “I was expecting a glowing performance review and had just started to lead a critical project in my org.”

“This came as a total and nasty surprise,” he tweeted.

McDonald said he felt “especially stabbed in the back” because of “feedback from my management” indicating that they “recognized the importance” of his work and “valued it.”

Charlotte Cucchiaro, a marketing manager based out of Google’s New York City offices, tweeted that she did not receive an email from the company notifying her that she was terminated.

“I was not emailed,” Cucchiaro tweeted.

“Just booted out of all corporate accounts with zero explanation. After 11 years.”

Zac Bowling, an Alameda, Calif.-based software engineer for Google, tweeted: “After 7 years at Google, it appears I got laid off. Just got logged out of all my devices.”

Earlier this week, Amazon, the Seattle-based e-retail giant, began notifying some 18,000 employees that their services would no longer be needed at the company.

“Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated,” wrote Beth Galetti, the top executive at Amazon’s human resources department, in one of the emails.

“You are no longer required to perform any work on Amazon’s behalf effective immediately.”

Other tech giants such as Microsoft, Meta, Snap and Twitter have also downsized in the face of economic uncertainty across the technology sector.

In the last year, an estimated 70,000 tech workers have been laid off from companies including Tesla, Robinhood, Snap, Netflix, Stripe, Shopify, Coinbase, Salesforce, Twitter, and Meta.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella circulated a companywide memo on Wednesday announcing that the Windows software giant will be shedding around 5% of its 221,000-strong workforce — or 10,000 employees — from its payroll.

Hours before Nadella’s memo went out to employees, Microsoft hired famed “The Police” rocker Sting to perform at an intimate gathering of 50 people on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Reuters was first to report the news.

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