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Big Tech layoffs hit Amazon’s drones, Halo developers, and Google’s incubator

Google’s decision to lay off 12,000 employees was only announced Friday, but it extended the recent trend of “Big Tech” companies cutting jobs in previously unheard-of numbers, and now we’ve seen more reports on where those cuts happened.

The information reports that at Google, the layoffs spread across almost every group, including projects like Chrome, Search, Android, and Google Cloud. The sources said they affected people who had previously received “high performance reviews” and some executives who earned anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million.

However, one area of ​​the search and advertising giant that was “relatively untouched” was the Google Brain division of Jeff Dean, the senior vice president of research and artificial intelligence. That’s the team that develops the machine learning technology that Google already uses in many areas. According to the New York Timeshis work will also be applied to a number of products we will reportedly see at his I/O event in May, including image generation tools, a YouTube green screen feature, and a chatbot version of his search engine sometime this year.

Google has confirmed this Bloomberg that it decided to “wind down the majority of the Area 120 team”. That incubator, named after Google’s famous but sleeping for a long time policy of allowing employees 20 percent of their time to pursue side projects had already seen major cuts to half of its projects late last year. The company said three projects will be collapsed into Google, while the rest appear to have disappeared.

At Microsoft, where 10,000 people are laid off, Polygon points to reports of the effects on various game development studios and the reactions of some former employees. According to Bloombergthere were cutbacks Star field developer Bethesda and reporter Jason Schreier said in a tweet that is it Halo studio 343 Industries was reportedly “hit hard”. At the same time, Kotaku noted that the coalition, which is working on the Weapons of war games, was also affected.

Other cuts hit Microsoft’s mixed reality teams. A report Bloomberg indicates that some employees working on the HoloLens headset were fired, a possible side effect of Congress denying the US military’s request to purchase up to 6,900 headsets based on the HoloLens platform. Microsoft is also shutting down the AltspaceVR virtual reality based social platform it acquired in 2017, and employees of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Toolkit team say they did all fired.

Amazon confirmed to us months ago that the layoffs include jobs in the devices and services division. Then, in early January, hardware chief Dave Limp said on CNBC’s TechCheck that the cuts affected nearly 2,000 people in its division, which is home to products like Alexa and its Echo smart home devices. Projects confirmed to have been halted included the children’s video calling device and the telehealth service.

This week, That reports CNBC the layoffs also include a “significant number” of employees working on the Prime Air drone delivery project at multiple locations, including headquarters, and, according to a since-deleted LinkedIn post, as many as half of the team at the Pendleton, Oregon test Place. Originally announced by Jeff Bezos in 2013, the program sees those cuts just as it begins rolling out tests in a few cities and prepares to launch the next-generation MK30 drone that will succeed the earlier MK27-2 unit above .

Amazon declined to tell CNBC how many people in the division had been laid off.

Update, 12:30 PM ET: Updated to note the closure of AltspaceVR, as well as other layoffs in Microsoft’s mixed-reality division.

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