The #tech lay off trend seems to be carrying over into 2024, and Google is the first company to kick off the new wave of layoffs, TechCrunch reported. On Wednesday, the company laid off hundreds of employees in various departments, including engineering and services.

The tech giant said it would lay off hundreds of employees in its voice assistant unit, and eliminate hundreds of positions from the hardware team responsible for Pixel, Nest and Fitbit. The augmented reality (AR) team is also affected, with the majority of people in it to be laid off.

The company has come out with the opinion that such extreme actions are necessary and are part of the organizational changes.

“To best position us for these opportunities, throughout the 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 Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Alphabet’s employee union said in an X that the layoffs were “unnecessary” and that the company could not “continue to fire colleagues” while making billions.

Google has recently downsized its AR hardware team and opted for collaboration with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), according to an initial report from 9to5Google. Additionally, there is a shift towards consolidating Google’s hardware engineering efforts into a unified core team, streamlining operations previously spread across Pixel, Fitbit, and Nest.

Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are confirmed to be departing, as acknowledged by Google to TechCrunch. Notably, James Park played a crucial role in the introduction of the new Pixel Watch series of smartwatches within Google’s hardware portfolio.

In 2019, Google announced the acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion, a process that underwent a two-year regulatory approval before finalizing in 2021. Since then, Google has integrated Fitbit products into its own offerings, exemplified by prompting Fitbit users to transition to Google accounts last year.

Simultaneously, the company made changes in its workforce, including personnel from the Google Assistant team, as reported by Semafor.

This latest company-wide layoff follows a larger workforce reduction of approximately 12,000 roles, or 6% of its employees, in January 2023.

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