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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Google's Major Shake-Up: Over 1,000 Jobs Cut, Fitbit Founders Exit

Image credits: Mitchell Luo / Unsplash

In a significant shake-up, Google has announced the layoff of over 1,000 employees across various divisions, including engineering and services.

The voice-activated Google Assistant and the Devices and Services PA (DSPA) team, responsible for the Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit hardware, are among the affected units.

Google confirmed the layoffs, framing them as part of an organisational restructuring aimed at improving efficiency and aligning resources with key product priorities. However, the Alphabet Worker Union has criticised the move, labelling the layoffs as "needless" given the company's billion-dollar profits.

In addition to the layoffs, Google has also dissolved most of its AR hardware team and will now collaborate with other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The company plans to consolidate its hardware engineering efforts into a single core team, a shift from the previous structure of separate teams for Pixel, Fitbit, and Nest.

Adding to the shake-up, Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are leaving Google. Park, in particular, has been instrumental in introducing the new Pixel Watch line of smartwatches to Google's hardware lineup.

The layoffs follow Google's acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion in 2019, a deal that took two years to secure regulatory approval and was finalised in 2021. Since then, Google has been integrating Fitbit products into its own offerings, prompting Fitbit users to migrate to Google accounts.

The company also made cuts to the Google Assistant team, which had been working on infusing AI-powered features into the Assistant to expand its capabilities "beyond voice."

This latest round of layoffs follows a series of similar actions last year, including cuts to the Waze mapping service, the recruiting team, and the news division. The move marks Google's most significant company-wide layoff since January 2023, when it cut approximately 12,000 roles, or 6% of its workforce.

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