CNBC has compiled a roundup of all the tech layoffs in the last year:
The job cuts in tech land are piling up, as companies that led the 10-year bull market adapt to a new reality. … The layoffs come in a period of slowing growth, higher interest rates to battle inflation, and fears of a possible recession next year.
When it was just Meta (11,000 jobs cut) and Twitter (3,700) and Snap (1,000), it was easy to think the problem was just with social media. When layoffs hit Coinbase (2,000) and Crypto.com (500), we could hope it was merely the overheated crypto world being exposed to reality, particularly in light of FTX’s ignominious collapse. When Amazon laid off 18,000 employees, it might just have been a correction to the pandemic hiring spree that doubled Amazon’s headcount to 1.6 million by the end of 2021. But now Microsoft has laid off 10,000 workers and Google has cut 12,000, suggesting larger problems in the industry and the economy.
Or perhaps laying off numerous employees is merely a contagious idea that seldom benefits companies. Regardless, dropping 75,000 tech employees into the job market will cause consternation among upcoming 2023 college graduates. I don’t envy all those computer science majors.
Apple remains the only tech giant that hasn’t announced layoffs. Why? Despite strong financial results, Apple has resisted increasing headcount excessively, averaging just 5.6% growth over the last four years. By comparison, Amazon averaged 31.1%, Google 18.3%, Meta 30.3%, and Microsoft 14.1%.
I was also struck that Google, Meta, and Microsoft all reference an increased focus on AI in their letters to employees.
Sundar Pichai of Google:
We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.
Mark Zuckerberg of Meta:
As we build our AI infrastructure, we’re focused on becoming even more efficient with our capacity.
Satya Nadella of Microsoft:
At the same time, the next major wave of computing is being born with advances in AI, as we’re turning the world’s most advanced models into a new computing platform.
Even though TidBITS Publishing’s headcount fell by 50% last year (from two to one, in a mutual decision—see “Josh Centers: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish,” 14 November 2022), I can say with assurance that we do not see AI as a substantial opportunity, chance to create more efficient infrastructure, or reason to switch to a new platform. Instead, we plan to double down on our efforts to craft everything we write with HI (human intelligence). Bots can write for other bots; we publish for people.