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Google Axes 12,000 Jobs, Layoffs Spread Across Tech Sector

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LONDON, England — Google is laying off 12,000 workers, or about 6% of its workforce, becoming the latest tech company to cut staff as the industry’s economic boom during the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

The CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, sent an email to employees on Friday telling them about the layoffs. The email was posted on the company’s news blog.

It is the biggest round of layoffs the company has ever had, and it joins tens of thousands of other job cuts recently announced by Microsoft, Amazon, the parent company of Facebook, Meta, and other tech companies as they try to save money in the face of a bad outlook for the industry. Major corporations announced at least 48,000 job cuts this month.

“We’ve seen periods of dramatic growth over the last two years,” Pichai wrote. “We hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today to match and fuel that growth.” google

google

Layoffs Started After A Review

He stated that the layoffs result from a “rigorous review” of Google’s operations.

The job cuts “cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels, and regions,” according to Pichai. He expressed “deep regret” for the layoffs.

Regulatory filings show how Google’s workforce grew during the pandemic, reaching nearly 187,000 late last year, up from 119,000 at the end of 2019.

Google, founded nearly a quarter-century ago, is “bound to go through difficult economic cycles,” according to Pichai.

“These are critical times for us to sharpen our focus, re-engineer our cost structure, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities,” he wrote. He identified the company’s investments in artificial intelligence as a potential growth area.

google

Googles Ad Revenue Is Down

According to Pichai’s letter, job cuts will be in the United States and other unspecified countries.

According to Victoria Scholar, an analyst with U.K.-based Interactive Investment, tech companies that “not long ago were the darlings of the stock market” have been forced to freeze hiring and cut jobs in preparation for an economic downturn.

“Digital spending is down, and ad revenue is down with it,” she wrote.

Microsoft recently announced 10,000 job cuts, accounting for nearly 5% of its workforce. Amazon announced this month that it is laying off 18,000 employees, a fraction of its 1.5 million-person workforce, while business software maker Salesforce is laying off 8,000 employees, or 10% of the total. Last fall, Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced the elimination of 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce. Elon Musk cut jobs at Twitter after acquiring the social media company last fall.

Smaller companies are also feeling the effects of job cuts. Sophos, a cybersecurity firm based in the United Kingdom, laid off 450 employees, accounting for 10% of its global workforce. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency trading platform, laid off 20% of its workforce, or approximately 950 employees, in its second round of layoffs in less than a year.

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The Economy Is Dropping

Even though the economy is slowing, the United States has kept adding jobs. In December, 223,000 more jobs were added. However, the technology sector has grown extremely quickly in recent years due to increased demand as employees began to work remotely.

CEOs of several companies have been blamed for expanding too quickly, yet those same companies, even after the latest round of job cuts, are still much larger than before the pandemic’s economic boom began.

“I accept complete responsibility for the decisions that brought us here,” Pichai wrote.

While the number of tech layoffs is “shocking,” the impact on tech industry employment is “nowhere near as bad as it appears,” according to John Blevins, an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s business school.

“These laid-off workers will easily find new jobs,” Blevins predicted, most likely at smaller tech firms. “They’re coming with impressive credentials from these large firms. That knowledge will be passed on and used to everyone’s advantage.”

In their announcements of layoffs, both Pichai and Microsoft and google CEO Satya Nadella stressed how important it was to make the most of their advances in artificial intelligence technology. This reflects the fact that Microsoft’s growing partnership with the San Francisco startup OpenAI has sparked a new round of competition between the two tech giants.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

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DUBAI, UAE — The CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI stated on Tuesday that the hazards that keep him awake at night about artificial intelligence are the “very subtle societal misalignments” that might cause the systems to wreak havoc.

Sam Altman, addressing via video call from the World Governments Summit in Dubai, reaffirmed his proposal to establish an organization similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor AI, which is expected to advance faster than the world expects.

openai

OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

“There are some elements in there that make it easy to imagine what may go wrong. And I’m not particularly interested in the killer robots walking down the street causing things to go wrong,” Altman remarked. “I’m much more interested in the very subtle societal misalignments where we just have these systems out in society and through no particular ill intention, things just go horribly wrong.”

However, Altman emphasized that the AI sector, including OpenAI, should not be responsible for developing industry laws.

“We are still in the middle of a lot of discussions. So, you know, everyone in the world is holding a conference. “Everyone has an idea, a policy paper, and that’s fine,” Altman explained. “I think we’re still at a time where debate is needed and healthy, but at some point in the next few years, we have to move towards an action plan with real buy-in around the world.”

OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup, is a leader in the industry. Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI. The Associated Press has reached a partnership with OpenAI to grant them access to its news archive. Meanwhile, The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for using its content without permission to train OpenAI’s chatbots.

openai

OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

Altman’s success with OpenAI has made him the public face of generative AI’s rapid commercialization and anxieties about what the new technology may bring.

The UAE, an authoritarian federation of seven hereditary sheikhdoms, shows evidence of this risk. Speech remains strictly regulated. These constraints impact the flow of reliable information — the same details that AI programmes like ChatGPT employ as machine-learning systems to deliver user replies.

The Emirates also boasts the Abu Dhabi corporation G42, led by the country’s strong national security adviser. Experts believe G42 has the world’s leading Arabic-language artificial intelligence model. The corporation has been accused of spying due to its involvement with a mobile phone app identified as spyware. It has also faced allegations that it secretly collected genetic material from Americans for the Chinese government.

Due to American concerns, G42 has announced that it will break connections with Chinese suppliers. However, the conversation with Altman, hosted by the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar al-Olama, addressed none of the local issues.

openai

OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

Altman, for his part, said he was encouraged to see schools embrace AI as critical for the future, despite teachers’ fears that pupils might use it to compose papers. However, he stressed that artificial intelligence is still in its early stages.

“I think the reason is the current technology that we have is like… that very first mobile with a black-and-white screen,” said Altman. “So, give us some time. But, in a few more years, I believe it will be far better than it is now. And in a decade, it should be rather extraordinary.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

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LONDON — Amazon cancelled its acquisition of robot vacuum firm iRobot on Monday, citing “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles” after the European Union opposed the transaction.

The firms announced in a joint statement that they were disappointed but agreed to end the acquisition. The merger drew antitrust attention on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in Europe, where authorities investigating competition issues were scheduled to make a final decision by February 14.

Amazon said that in 2022, it would buy iRobot, the producer of the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion cash. However, the deal’s value decreased by 15% after iRobot took on extra debt.

Amazon will pay the Bedford, Massachusetts-based business a previously agreed-upon termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate release, which also revealed that it would lay off around 31% of its workforce and fire its CEO.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm and top antitrust watchdog warned Amazon last year of its “preliminary view” that the iRobot acquisition would reduce industry competition.

While British antitrust regulators cleared the deal in June, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States continued investigating.

The European Commission waited to respond to a request for comment. It was concerned that Amazon would minimise the exposure of an iRobot competitor’s product or restrict access to certain labels, such as “Amazon’s Choice,” which could draw more customers.

Last year, the commission said that Amazon may have discovered ways to boost the expenses for iRobot’s competitors to advertise and sell their products on its platform.

Amazon’s chief counsel, David Zapolsky, slammed authorities, saying consumers would miss out on “faster innovation and more competitive prices.”

“Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics,” he added.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

He also pointed out that “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition— the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”

Now that the purchase has been called off, iRobot has announced a restructuring strategy to stabilise the company. The corporation plans to lay off approximately 350 people as part of these reforms.

Colin Angle, iRobot’s chairman and CEO, will also step down. Glen Weinstein, the company’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, will become interim CEO.

Consumer rights groups had expressed worries about the Amazon-iRobot merger, claiming it would increase the ecommerce giant’s domination in the smart home industry.

Amazon has previously acquired several smart home firms, including Blink, Ring, and Eero, a mesh-networking Wi-Fi company.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

This is the latest example of a partnership between US corporations that failed after being scrutinised by European regulators.

Adobe abandoned its $20 billion acquisition of online design business Figma last year due to antitrust concerns raised by the EU and the UK. After losing legal battles with antitrust officials in Europe and the United States, biotech giant Illumina was forced to cancel its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer-screening business Grail.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

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amazon

LONDON — Amazon cancelled its acquisition of robot vacuum firm iRobot on Monday, citing “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles” after the European Union opposed the transaction.

The firms announced in a joint statement that they were disappointed but agreed to end the acquisition. The merger drew antitrust attention on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in Europe, where authorities investigating competition issues were scheduled to make a final decision by February 14.

Amazon said that in 2022, it would buy iRobot, the producer of the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion cash. However, the deal’s value decreased by 15% after iRobot took on extra debt.

amazon

AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

Amazon will pay the Bedford, Massachusetts-based business a previously agreed-upon termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate release, which also revealed that it would lay off around 31% of its workforce and fire its CEO.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm and top antitrust watchdog warned Amazon last year of its “preliminary view” that the iRobot acquisition would reduce industry competition.

While British antitrust regulators cleared the deal in June, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States continued investigating.

The European Commission waited to respond to a request for comment. It was concerned that Amazon would minimise the exposure of an iRobot competitor’s product or restrict access to certain labels, such as “Amazon’s Choice,” which could draw more customers.

Last year, the commission said that Amazon may have discovered ways to boost the expenses for iRobot’s competitors to advertise and sell their products on its platform.

amazon

AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

Amazon’s chief counsel, David Zapolsky, slammed authorities, saying consumers would miss out on “faster innovation and more competitive prices.”

“Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics,” he added.

He also pointed out that “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition— the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”

Now that the purchase has been called off, iRobot has announced a restructuring strategy to stabilise the company. The corporation plans to lay off approximately 350 people as part of these reforms.

Colin Angle, iRobot’s chairman and CEO, will also step down. Glen Weinstein, the company’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, will become interim CEO.

Consumer rights groups had expressed worries about the Amazon-iRobot merger, claiming it would increase the ecommerce giant’s domination in the smart home industry.

amazon

AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

Amazon has previously acquired several smart home firms, including Blink, Ring, and Eero, a mesh-networking Wi-Fi company.

This is the latest example of a partnership between US corporations that failed after being scrutinised by European regulators.

Adobe abandoned its $20 billion acquisition of online design business Figma last year due to antitrust concerns raised by the EU and the UK. After losing legal battles with antitrust officials in Europe and the United States, biotech giant Illumina was forced to cancel its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer-screening business Grail.

SOURCE – (AP)

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