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Google cuts hundreds of engineering, voice assistance jobs amid cost-cutting drive

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Google has laid off hundreds of employees working on its hardware, voice assistance and engineering teams as part of cost-cutting measures.

The cuts come as Google looks towards "responsibly investing in our company's biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead," the company said in a statement.

Separately, Amazon said it is cutting several hundred positions across its Prime Video and MGM Studios unit.

Google is increasingly focusing on investments in artificial intelligence, as is rival Microsoft, with the latter introducing a Copilot feature that incorporates artificial intelligence into products like search engine Bing, browser Edge as well as Windows for its corporate customers.

While both tech giants are focused on AI investments, Microsoft is "is taking the clear lead in the AI arms race," according to a recent research note from Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. 

The cuts follow pledges by executives of Google and its parent company Alphabet to reduce costs. A year ago, Google said it would lay off 12,000 employees or around 6% of its workforce.

"Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally," it said.

Google earlier said it was eliminating a few hundred roles, with most of the impact on its augmented reality hardware team.

"Needless layoffs"

In a post on X — previously known as Twitter — the Alphabet Workers Union described the job cuts as "another round of needless layoffs."

"Our members and teammates work hard every day to build great products for our users, and the company cannot continue to fire our coworkers while making billions every quarter," the union wrote. "We won't stop fighting until our jobs are safe!"

Google is not the only technology company cutting back. In the past year, Meta -- the parent company of Facebook -- has slashed more than 20,000 jobs to reassure investors. Meta's stock price gained about 178% in 2023.

Spotify said in December that it was axing 17% of its global workforce, the music streaming service's third round of layoffs in 2023 as it moved to slash costs and improve its profitability.

Amazon job cuts

Earlier this week, Amazon laid off hundreds of employees in its Prime Video and studios units. It also will lay off about 500 employees who work on its livestreaming platform Twitch.

Amazon has cut thousands of jobs after a hiring surge during the pandemic. In March, Amazon announced that it planned to lay off 9,000 employees, on top of 18,000 employees it said that it would lay off in January 2023.

Last month Amazon said that Prime Video users would start seeing ads on movies and television shows starting on January 29, setting a date for an announcement it made back in September.

Prime members who want to keep their movies and TV shows ad-free will have to pay an additional $2.99 per month.

Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, said in a note to employees that the company is boosting investment in areas with the most impact, while stepping back from others.

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