Google CEO Sundar Pichai hints at layoffs

Google CEO Sundar Pichai warned that layoffs could be in the offing as the company seeks to boost its efficiency by 20% while staving off fierce economic headwinds and antitrust investigations.

“The more we try to understand the macroeconomic, we feel very uncertain about it,” Pichai told a tech conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

“The macroeconomic performance is correlated to ad spend, consumer spend and so on.”

“We want to make sure as a company, when you have fewer resources than before, you are prioritizing all the right things to be working on and your employees are really productive that they can actually have impact on the things they’re working on so that’s what we are spending our time on,” Pichai said.

Pichai’s comments were reported by CNBC.

The chief executive also admitted that he was concerned about the federal government’s antitrust probes.

Pichai acknowledged that he was concerned about antitrust investigation into Google’s practices.Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last month, Bloomberg News reported that the Biden administration is preparing to sue Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior in the digital advertising market.

“Do I wake up and worry about all the stuff that’s coming down?” Pichai said.

“Absolutely.”

Pichai denied that his company was engaged in monopolistic practices. He cited the surging popularity of TikTok as well as established giants like Apple and Microsoft as examples of tech companies that have thrived.

Pichai said Google was “pro-competitive.”

“Competition in tech is hyper-intense,” Pichai said, adding that TikTok’s rise “shows there is competition in the space” and “how vibrant the market is” compared to previous years.

The Mountain View, California-based company has been accused of monopolistic practices in the search engine and digital advertising markets.picture alliance via Getty Image

In 2020, the Justice Department sued Google for allegedly violating antitrust laws in consolidating its hold over the search engine market.

Last month, the news site Insider reported that executives in the Google Cloud sales department issued blunt warnings to staffers that they needed to pick up the pace — or get a pink slip.

If third-quarter results “don’t look up, [then] there will be blood on the streets,” according to a message conveyed to the sales team.

Earlier this summer, Google announced there would be a hiring freeze. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Employees who work in the department said senior leadership told them there will be an “overall examination of sales productivity and productivity in general.”

In July, Pichai announced that the company would institute a hiring freeze. He circulated a memo to employees telling them that “productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the head count we have.”

Employees told Insider that they are fearful of layoffs after the company quietly extended its hiring freeze last month without making an announcement.

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