Google’s future-building Fuchsia and Area 120 teams are hampered by mass layoffs
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, unceremoniously announced this week that it would reduce employment by 12,000 positions. This was presented as a reduction of 6% that was likely concentrated on administrative positions and a surge in hires made during the COVID pandemic. However, subsequent reporting indicates that the company is reducing its exposure to risky and ambitious moonshot projects, despite its reputation for allowing employees to work on personal projects for 20% of their office hours. As it continues to support its expanding hardware division, it may also be reducing a potential software bet.
You might consider ChromeOS and Android, in particular, to be Google’s mastheads when it comes to operating systems. However, the company has also been working on a different operating system called Fuchsia. Its complicated development path over the past few years has led it to power Nest speakers and smart displays recently, which are distributed through mid-life software updates. By not including Java code, Fuchsia’s creation was also said to help Google escape its ongoing legal entanglement with Oracle.
However, it appears that the business will keep putting off a full embrace of Fuchsia, if that was ever going to happen. At least 16% of the 400-person Fuchsia team was let go this week, and additional layoffs may occur in the future. Given that Fuchsia OS is anticipated to feature for the first time out of the box on an upcoming Google smart home product, the group’s proportionally outsized impact is surprising. It is unknown whether the arrival of this product will be affected by the layoffs.
In the meantime, moonshot incubator Area 120 has been virtually eliminated, according to Bloomberg, just months after Google had already reduced the group’s funding. We recently reported that Mineral, a project in Area 120, has transformed into a full-fledged Alphabet company, leaving the division with only three projects and all others shut down.
In a company memo earlier this month, Amazon’s CEO stated that the e-commerce platform will be terminating 18,000 employees in the coming weeks. The e-commerce platform had already laid off 10,000 employees in November. Following this, Microsoft announced that 10,000 of its employees would be laid off. Although AppleInsider is hearing that non-Apple Store retail associates have received their notices, Apple has largely avoided announcing large-scale workforce reductions.