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posted by janrinok on Wednesday February 21, @09:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the ai-says-ai-is-not-taking-over dept.

Google Lays Off Thousands More Employees Despite Record Profits One Year After Laying off 12,000 Employees As Workers Begin Worrying AI is Slowly Replacing Them

Google has initiated significant layoffs across its various teams, [...] marking a continuation of the tech industry's trend towards reducing workforce expenses. The layoffs have affected hundreds of employees within the Voice Assistant unit; hardware teams responsible for Pixel, Nest and Fitbit products; and a considerable portion of the augmented reality (AR) team. This move is part of Google's broader effort to streamline operations and align resources with its most significant product priorities​​.

[....] This comes at a time when Google parent, Alphabet Inc., reported record profits in late January. The company reported $20.4 billion in net income in Q4.

[....] The layoffs have sparked widespread concern among Google employees, not just about job security but also about the ethical implications of their work, especially as the company continues to invest heavily in advancing AI technology.

What are the executive priorities that Google is trying to align resources with?


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by DadaDoofy on Wednesday February 21, @09:50PM (17 children)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Wednesday February 21, @09:50PM (#1345542)

    When a for-profit company starts a downward spiral, it's round after round of layoffs, until they eventually die the death of a thousand cuts. In the case of an intentionally evil company like Google, the end couldn't happen soon enough. The day the last Google employee is laid off will be a great day for all of humanity.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Wednesday February 21, @10:12PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21, @10:12PM (#1345548) Journal

      But who will inherit the massive database that Google has collected about every intimate detail of everyone's lives?

      --
      To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Wednesday February 21, @10:14PM (14 children)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21, @10:14PM (#1345549) Journal

      I hope they find other jobs. They need to eat too.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21, @10:34PM (13 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday February 21, @10:34PM (#1345555)

        If they lived in the Bay area, they can either find another job there, or if they had the financial discipline to invest in real-estate: sell their 1/4 share in a one bedroom walk-up 4th floor apartment and retire in Oregon or Virginia, their choice.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Thursday February 22, @12:35AM (12 children)

          by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday February 22, @12:35AM (#1345573) Journal

          I know, right!

          Work is for chumps! Investments, that's the ticket. Invest in tech giants, and you can live off the dividends and wild stock price rises. Google/Alphabet stock price history [google.com] $100,000 invested in Google 10 years ago would be worth about $500,000 today. Pretty good for not having to lift a finger.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, @01:22AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, @01:22AM (#1345580)

            > would be worth about $500,000 today.

            But when you sell to realize that gain, there are taxes involved... so it's not quite as much gravy as it looks.

            Unless of course your were as sharp as this guy,
                      https://www.propublica.org/article/lord-of-the-roths-how-tech-mogul-peter-thiel-turned-a-retirement-account-for-the-middle-class-into-a-5-billion-dollar-tax-free-piggy-bank [propublica.org]
            ... and a retirement plan bought the stock, then it grows tax free until you start using it in the future (if it's worth anything by then).

            • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Thursday February 22, @01:54AM

              by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday February 22, @01:54AM (#1345583) Journal

              Yeah, the Roth IRA. You pay tax at the start, when you earned the money, and from then on, it's totally tax free. 0% tax rate! It's sick. You can't put a whole lot of money directly into a Roth, but you can roll everything you have from your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Pay taxes when you do the rollover, because the traditional IRA is about paying those taxes later, when you take money out for whatever reason.

              Even if you don't use a retirement account, in the late 1990s, Republican Congressman Dick Armey was instrumental in lowering the tax rate on capital gains, to just 15%. Pay 25%+ on earned income, only pay 15% on unearned!

            • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, @03:50AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, @03:50AM (#1345602)

              Unless of course your were as sharp as this guy,

              I'd probably be one of those who lost it all on the first few startups and never became famous...

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Thursday February 22, @02:30AM (8 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @02:30AM (#1345587) Journal

            Work is for chumps! Investments, that's the ticket.

            This reminds me of some economic discussion in Eve Online: grind versus invest. Grind is work, but limited in output. You only get out what you put in (though better capital means better grind). Invest is also work, but you can get a lot more out once you have a large pool of assets and make good investments.

            The only thing in the game with better return on effort is outright fraud and scams which are vastly less risky than their real world counterparts.

            The point of all that was that if you were a player interested in greatly increasing your wealth, grinding only takes you so far. You need to get into the investment game in some way.

            So while I wouldn't insult people who work for a living, I would remind everyone here that investment is what you need to do in some form - even just saving money in a bank account, if you want to do more than live hand to mouth.

            • (Score: 4, Touché) by Tork on Thursday February 22, @03:21AM (7 children)

              by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @03:21AM (#1345597)
              I think the troll mod was harsh, but it is fair to say that you aren't operating from a clear picture of where we're at, now. Your words aren't necessarily wrong in an academic sense, but in the real world we have moved far too deep inside a debt-powered economy. In practical terms you're unwittingly saying "suck it up and go live in the woods until you somehow find a job that pays a respectable wage... No offense!"
              --
              🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday February 22, @04:34AM (6 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @04:34AM (#1345611) Journal

                Your words aren't necessarily wrong in an academic sense, but in the real world we have moved far too deep inside a debt-powered economy.

                Moved too deep into a debt-powered economy for correct statements to be correct? I definitely don't understand where this argument is heading.

                In practical terms you're unwittingly saying "suck it up and go live in the woods until you somehow find a job that pays a respectable wage... No offense!"

                bzipitidoo was mocking the idea of investment even though it's an obvious way to go beyond (sometimes well beyond) what you can earn with a respectable wage. This isn't about telling people to toughen up and look for better work (though that is an option "somehow"), but rather that by changing your personal behavior from debt-powering to saving and investing, you can do better.

                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Thursday February 22, @04:52AM (2 children)

                  by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday February 22, @04:52AM (#1345615) Journal

                  Well ... I was trying to point out the extreme unfairness of our tax system. Investors with huge Roth IRA funds pay 0% taxes and put in very little effort, while working stiffs work their rears off for a relative pittance, then have to pay 25% of those meager earnings in tax? Not fair! But who do you vote for if you want that changed? Definitely not the Republicans, they are the party of the rich. Not the Democrats either, they're better, but still too corporate. Far as I know, there's no one. And if any one does try to run on that, I'm sure the corporate owned media would ignore and bury them so no one learns they even exist.

                  The rich have a lot of unfair advantages. Bad enough that the rich enjoy systemic advantages without the government tilting the playing field even more with this unfair taxation. Of course, it's the rich who bribed the government to make things so.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday February 22, @01:20PM (1 child)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @01:20PM (#1345640) Journal

                    Investors with huge Roth IRA funds pay 0% taxes and put in very little effort, while working stiffs work their rears off for a relative pittance, then have to pay 25% of those meager earnings in tax?

                    Working stiffs can do Roth IRAs too. And everyone has to pay taxes on what goes into the IRA account.

                    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday February 22, @03:35PM

                      by VLM (445) on Thursday February 22, @03:35PM (#1345664)

                      Ooooooof everyone is getting all, or most, of this wrong.

                      The MAGI limit for Roth used to be about an eighth of a mil/yr and is now going to a quarter mil in a couple years and in the past I occasionally hit that when I billed a lot more time than I do now in semi-lazy-ass-not-really-retirement, so I'm one of those guys with a Roth and a Regular IRA at the same financial institution holding roughly the same portfolio. Its pretty easy to decide to contribute to a Trad when it's illegal to contribute to a Roth. "Illegal" in the sense that the IRS will spank you with a punishment fee until you "fix" it, generally not prison time, LOL, AFAIK.

                      MAGI is one of those bullshit social engineering things where its not your gross income, its not your adjusted gross taxable income, its some modified bullshite that for most people is probably somewhat close to their income, but turbotax / etc will let you know if you need to know.

                      It's pretty easy to remember that Roths and Trad IRAs are the same with taxes flipped, but I had to look it up online right now to get it correct, because it's 50/50 if I remember correctly:

                      Trad IRAs are tax-deductible / tax-free contributions and pay tax on the withdrawl.

                      Roth IRAs are NOT tax-deductible contributions and withdrawls are tax-free.

                      Which IRA you want depends on how lucky you feel about growth rates before you retire and what taxation income brackets you think you'll be in now vs mandatory withdrawal retirement time. Will my marginal tax rate when I'm 80 be lower than when I'm 40? Most likely, so simplistically I'm better off with a Trad. However with a Roth I can theoretically invest more money in total at the start, eventually making more money at the endgame, so if I was 18 I'd get a Roth for compounding gainz and if I was 64 I'd get a Trad because there won't be much compounding gainz. In between, its a lot less clear...

                      Financial "professionals" selling one kind or another will have a shit fit using fake cherry picked numbers to prove that what they're selling is coincidentally exactly what you need, but pros that sell both types are pretty much WTF it don't matter much flip a coin.

                • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday February 22, @10:36PM (2 children)

                  by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @10:36PM (#1345739)

                  Moved too deep into a debt-powered economy for correct statements to be correct?

                  The phrases 'academic' and 'real world' were placed there intentionally. I still haven't figured out how to get you to read all the words in my posts before you respond.

                  I definitely don't understand where this argument is heading.

                  I was referring to how an abundance of credit in the last couple of decades is skewing peoples' ability to save money. Can't really save if we're perpetually in debt. It's not a coincidence, for example, that iPhones have risen in price right around the time Apple started making installments available. "Own a shiny new iPhone for $17/mo!" etc. That is just one example, there are more... people are getting nibbled at from all angles. If using credit to invest made money we'd be in a very different world. In simpler terms: The moment you save money, your car breaks down.

                  --
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                  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by khallow on Saturday February 24, @04:58AM (1 child)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @04:58AM (#1346016) Journal

                    The phrases 'academic' and 'real world' were placed there intentionally.

                    I disagree that the placement makes sense. My statement was correct in both senses.

                    I still haven't figured out how to get you to read all the words in my posts before you respond.

                    I suggest perceiving differently. You're not the first person concerned that I ignored some dross. I don't share your concern.

                    I was referring to how an abundance of credit in the last couple of decades is skewing peoples' ability to save money. Can't really save if we're perpetually in debt.

                    The obvious rebuttal is don't be perpetually in debt. You know, what I've been saying for the last three posts (and far more years). For your edification, the iPhone thing is dross and thus, something I ignored. If you were choosing to avoid going into debt for such expenditures, then the coy installment games would have no effect and would thus be irrelevant. There's no magic woo that forces you to fall for every installment plan out there.

                    In simpler terms: The moment you save money, your car breaks down.

                    Your car would break down anyway and you have more resources to deal with the break down than if you had borrowed to your limit. You might even spend less overall due to less need for borrowing,

                    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Saturday February 24, @05:06AM

                      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @05:06AM (#1346019)

                      I disagree that the placement makes sense.

                      Kay.

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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ikanreed on Wednesday February 21, @10:33PM

      by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21, @10:33PM (#1345554) Journal

      The bad news is software companies(like google) can continue to sell their products without having anyone make more.

      I'm glad the eternal tech bubble is finally over in a way. Hurts my income, but fuck google and amazon and facebook are fundamentally overvalued.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Tork on Wednesday February 21, @10:15PM (10 children)

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21, @10:15PM (#1345550)
    I'm paying Google for extra Gmail storage. Last year it went up like a LOT. As in I had to trim down a bunch of stuff to get it in the ballpark of what it was before. (I really am sorry the numbers escape me, I wanna say like 4x but i cannot verify it right now. ) I just got an email from them to the tune of "your price is going up..." and I dont have the mental strength to check right now.

    Apple has done this to me. Amazon has done this to me. Paramount+ has done this to me. YoutubeTV AND Youtube has done this to me. Fuck greedflation.
    --
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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Wednesday February 21, @10:17PM (3 children)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21, @10:17PM (#1345551) Journal

      The investors demand a premium return. Conversely, this is the Invisible Hand saying that a cheaper solution needs to emerge.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Tork on Wednesday February 21, @10:38PM (2 children)

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21, @10:38PM (#1345557)
        Remember when the world told AOL "We don't need you anymore." We needta do that again.
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        • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Saturday February 24, @03:11PM (1 child)

          by DadaDoofy (23827) on Saturday February 24, @03:11PM (#1346079)

          If you are paying the higher price, you've made the decision that what they offer is still worth it to you. It doesn't really matter that you won't be honest with yourself and admit it.

          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Saturday February 24, @06:01PM

            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @06:01PM (#1346098)
            Actually I think you're absolutely right. Every year I do business with more and more entities, the individual battles get hard to fight. I think everybody's in that boat. It'd be nice if consumers as a group were better at organizing and being heard.

            Again, I do think you're right... it's our problem to solve. I just hope you're not suggesting I be silent about it.
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    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Wednesday February 21, @10:30PM

      by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday February 21, @10:30PM (#1345552)

      It's the old story of give away the razors to create a market, then sell the blades at profit. It's much like "market dumping", where big investors come in with "big box stores" underselling and killing off the competition, then raise prices like crazy. One of several factors in the recent increase in inflation rate.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21, @10:37PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday February 21, @10:37PM (#1345556)

      >Last year it went up like a LOT. As in I had to trim down a bunch of stuff to get it in the ballpark of what it was before. (I really am sorry the numbers escape me, I wanna say like 4x but i cannot verify it right now. ) I just got an email from them to the tune of "your price is going up..."

      I have NEVER trusted free or low-cost cloud storage solutions.

      "We have altered the deal, pray we do not alter it further..." is all too obvious of a future move - even as SSD storage has recently plummeted below $50/TB: https://www.amazon.com/Verbatim-Vi550-Internal-Interface-Technology/dp/B0CJ7WL5BX [amazon.com]

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Thursday February 22, @04:51AM

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday February 22, @04:51AM (#1345614)

      You must be power e-mail user. I have a Gmail account that I opened 20 years ago (when they sent out beta invitations) I don't delete a lot of stuff, except spam, I have only 0.66 GB used of 15 GB.
      On the other hand, in couple of other e-mail accounts with other providers, I get lots of phishing-spam telling me my Google account is near empty as well as my iCloud account and my Amazon account (and a couple of others) none of which I have ever had are full and I need to log-in and send $$.

      --
      When life isn't going right, go left.
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday February 22, @03:08PM (2 children)

      by VLM (445) on Thursday February 22, @03:08PM (#1345656)

      Last year it went up like a LOT.

      You sure?

      Android Authority has a screenshot in an January 2022 article talking about "Google One" rolling out in 2018 showing the 100GB tier costing $19.99/yr Or is that a pic from January 2022? Not sure.

      https://www.androidauthority.com/google-one-865401/ [androidauthority.com]

      That 100GB tier is the same tier I'm on, I just clicked my storage thingy on gmail and menu option "storage" and look at the billing for plans as of today Feb 2024 I'm currently paying $19.99/yr for the same tier.

      So at a minimum the price does not seem to have gone up since January 2022 but possibly hasn't gone up since 2018.

      One thing that has changed a lot, is they keep adding more weird tiers and features, extra cost for the 30TB storage tier (used to max out at 2 TB LOL) and they have all kinds of interesting offers for AI and similar that I'm pretty much uninterested in. Its possible, maybe even likely, you have some other service at google that went up in price, perhaps some service that offers Drive/One as a feature.

      My personal account is using 18 GB out of 100 GB. My "thank you clients for continuing to pay my invoices" business-use-only account is using 910 MB out of 30 GB.

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday February 22, @05:22PM (1 child)

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @05:22PM (#1345689)
        I mentioned before I don't have the mental energy to look into it right now (very hard week at work) but it turned into a fee that didn't exist before over how many 'users' I had. I had to do some consolidating because I had created a couple of accounts for testing different ways to manage my personal and work emails. Had I missed the email explaining that nonsense last year I would have suddenly had to pay north of $50/mo, I don't remember what it was before but something like $6 or $10.

        I do acknowledge I've been vague and I apologize for it. Ever have one of those weeks were you just need to keep ALL problems on a simmer?
        --
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        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday February 24, @05:01PM

          by VLM (445) on Saturday February 24, @05:01PM (#1346087)

          Ever have one of those weeks were you just need to keep ALL problems on a simmer?

          Yeah I know how that is, better luck next week, eh?

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21, @11:27PM (5 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday February 21, @11:27PM (#1345560)

    >What are the executive priorities that Google is trying to align resources with?

    Obviously: they do not yet control all the free cash on the planet, as long as there are other entities with more cash/power than themselves they must inexorably grow to prevent hostile takeover and abusive competition from sources they cannot defend from.

    Free cash buys legislative and judicial favors, free cash can be used to launch new services faster and more successfully through advertising, free cash can finance an unassailable moon base from which to stage their operations securely.

    How dare you question the executives' priorities!?! Profit UBER ALLES!!! Amen. (no evil to see here, these are not the AI overlords your are looking for, they are free to go about their business, move along.)

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by khallow on Thursday February 22, @04:38AM (4 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @04:38AM (#1345612) Journal

      Obviously: they do not yet control all the free cash on the planet, as long as there are other entities with more cash/power than themselves they must inexorably grow to prevent hostile takeover and abusive competition from sources they cannot defend from.

      What's the point of handwringing over ridiculous scenarios? The only way Google could control all free cash on the planet were if they were the only entity on the planet. Among other things, that means no employees or advertisers. And what in the world does "free cash" mean anyway? None of their wealth came for free.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 22, @03:30PM (3 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 22, @03:30PM (#1345660)

        >None of their wealth came for free.

        You have obviously never IPO'ed, or reverse-shell-mergered (IPO for little people...)

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by khallow on Saturday February 24, @05:00AM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @05:00AM (#1346017) Journal

          You have obviously never IPO'ed, or reverse-shell-mergered (IPO for little people...)

          I take it you have? Not been in an business that IPO'd, but IPO'd something yourself. Because otherwise, by your own standard, you would be talking out your ass.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday February 24, @01:33PM (1 child)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday February 24, @01:33PM (#1346066)

            In the smaller business world, reverse shell mergers take little companies public through a burnt out existing public company.

            Yes, been in one company that did that and in negotiations with a couple of others to potentially do it. There is a lot of distaste for the maneuver from people who still hold some sense of fair play as a value, because inevitably there are players in the deal walking away with millions in cash for basically no contribution of value other than enabling the deal to happen.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 0, Redundant) by khallow on Saturday February 24, @01:45PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @01:45PM (#1346070) Journal

              Yes, been in one company that did that

              In other words, you didn't do that. You were just in the neighborhood.

              because inevitably there are players in the deal walking away with millions in cash for basically no contribution of value other than enabling the deal to happen.

              In other words, "enabling the deal" means some modest, but nontrivial cost. Not free cash.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Wednesday February 21, @11:28PM (11 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday February 21, @11:28PM (#1345561)

    Back in 1996, Michael Moore wrote a fake article with the headline: "Everybody Fired: Wall Street Reacts Favorably"

    What are the executive priorities that Google is trying to align resources with?

    Maximizing this quarter's stock price, which will also maximize executive bonuses. There's nothing more sophisticated than that going on. Every additional explanation offered is bullpucky created to distract from that very simple incentive.

    There are a few more specific points that can be made too:
    - Having thousands-fewer employees reduces ongoing expenses, ergo it looks better to Wall Street, ergo the stock price will go up.
    - The executives just proved that they were "tough", i.e. willing to ruin the lives of their employees in order to make their shareholders happy for the next few months. Which will also make their stock price go up. Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt points out that this is in line with behavior of drug gangs that make sure the people at the top are taken care of even if they have to screw over the footsoldiers, because to do otherwise would make the people at the top look "weak and shit" and risk the people at the top not being at the top anymore.
    - Executives who wreck a company by doing this too much will almost definitely land an executive job somewhere else, or at worst retire very comfortably, so there's basically no risk to themselves.
    - The general assumption is that after a massive layoff, the remaining employees will now be scared into working harder, thus negating any negative long-term impacts of the layoff. This works especially well if their entire industry is going through massive layoffs so the remaining employees don't have anywhere to apply to for equivalent employment (so watch out, people at Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc). Besides, if you ever need to claw back some people, you can bring in new graduates that cost less than the old hands you laid off.
    - Layoffs also give management an excuse to get rid of people they otherwise couldn't for legal reasons. For example, the people who are seen as legally protected barring demonstrably really bad behavior under normal circumstances no longer are. So most big companies will call for a round of layoffs periodically just to allow for these people (who management just assumes are lurking in every department in approximately even distribution) to be tossed aside.
    - Layoffs allow for corporate restructuring, which is when middle managers focus their energy on backstabbing each other to increase their own salaries and perks. This can lead to productivity gains, because while they're doing that the people doing the actual work can carry on without being bothered as often.

    All of this has been well-known to MBAs since at least the 1980's with the personal financial success of executives like "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap (who typically would start off his tenure as CEO by firing a large percentage of his workforce).

    --
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    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21, @11:38PM (8 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday February 21, @11:38PM (#1345562)

      Back in 2003 my publicly traded employer of 12 years laid off, with no prospects of recall, all 10 remaining employees, cutting operations to a part time accountant only.

      When the next quarterly report hit, clearly showing the layoff, stating the strong probability of being unable to continue operations in the future, the stock price jumped up 1.5x, and stayed there for two quarters.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by istartedi on Thursday February 22, @12:56AM (1 child)

        by istartedi (123) on Thursday February 22, @12:56AM (#1345574) Journal

        There are probably a number of reasons this happens. One is short-covering. Traders who were short the company for a long time, closing their positions. They could wait for the securities to become worthless; but it's probably easier to just buy them back so that their broker knows the lent shares have been re-paid.

        It's also possible that while the company is bleeding on its own, it has assets that would be a fit for some other firm. Speculators will buy such shares, looking for a private equity buyout.

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        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 22, @01:31AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 22, @01:31AM (#1345581)

          I think it was algorithmic, the company had been running more expenses than income for a couple of years, the rate of loss dropped rather dramatically with ten less salaries to pay. Assets were negligible.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday February 22, @02:34PM (3 children)

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday February 22, @02:34PM (#1345648) Journal

        I mean that's kind of funny, except for the 10 people who lost their jobs.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 22, @03:33PM (2 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 22, @03:33PM (#1345662)

          Oh, we had years of "warning" ... one might get indignant that the final shoe was dropped in a Friday afternoon meeting where the CEO announced "we love you all, you are welcome to come in on Monday and after, but you won't be paid and we don't expect you to come in."

          That was in March, the real warning was when payday got delayed in January, just for a few days but in 20 years before that the company had never been late with paychecks.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday February 22, @03:42PM (1 child)

            by Freeman (732) on Thursday February 22, @03:42PM (#1345667) Journal

            "we love you all, you are welcome to come in on Monday and after, but you won't be paid and we don't expect you to come in."

            What kind of a statement is that . . .

            Generally there's two parts to working, I give you time, you give me money. That's how it works. I'm very confused with a statement like that. Wouldn't they shutdown the building? Or something?

            --
            Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
            • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 22, @04:40PM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 22, @04:40PM (#1345679)

              Well, to digress into all the things I don't like about that CEO who I signed off on as acceptable / best candidate we had seen for the job:

              1. To "put forward the appearance of success" he leased the entire 4th floor of a nice bank building on the bay. I believe he signed a 5 year commitment, but we ran short of operating funds in 2. He was the first of 3 CEOs I worked under who made the same move: "get out of these dumpy offices so we can impress investors and get more funding." 3 for 3 that never worked.

              2. It was quite clear that we were not expected to come in. We all had been doing our part to work toward a successful outcome for the company, and we all knew that the chances of that happening anytime in the near future were slim to none. I left that meeting and went to my work desk to begin my job search activities in earnest (had been watching for openings for several months, immediately followed up on a couple of the better looking ones...) I continued to come in a couple of days a week for a couple of hours, basically to borrow the color laser printer to make "For Sale" flyers for our house and other things that were more easily accomplished in office with the remaining office supplies / tools than from my home office. One (independently wealthy) employee did continue to work more or less full time, and 18 months later they did secure a buyer for the company and she was "made whole" for her missed salary and then some. Lacking a father with tens of millions in assets and having a wife four months pregnant at the time, I didn't think sticking around at-risk was a great move for us, although... I did get a Real-Estate sales-person's license shortly after the layoff and if we had merely stayed in our home and sold it in the next run-up later in 2003 / early 2004 we would have made more in profit on the house than I earned in (six figure) salary and benefits in the 2.5 years we moved in Texas. Miami real-estate was bat-shit crazy in 2003-2006. It has since deflated to about what we sold out for in 2003. Still, even 1.5% commission on a few 500-700K deals a year would have been enough for groceries and property taxes...

              3. When it had been settled that we were moving, I picked out a nice sized empty ground floor restaurant (literally next door to the bank) that we could have 100% financed for lower payments than the lease on the bank building floor, but it "wasn't as professional looking" as having leased office space on the 4th floor. So, we disassembled and schlepped our heavy mechanical beds up and down the small passenger elevators (no freight elevator available.) By the time we went no-staff, we could have sold that restaurant building for $800K+ profit. Instead, he started slow-paying the lease and eventually negotiated a space reduction to 20% of the square footage for 30% of the lease amount. Eventually the company found a better deal on office space in a "friendly" company's offices in town.

              4. The company wasn't completely "dead" - we made a moving bed therapeutic device. Shortly before I got the job in Texas I was asked to draw up an "extension" to the bed for "much taller" patients. I believe the standard bed was already 6'8" long, so I asked: "Who are you putting on it, Shaq?" "Uh, well, we can't really say..." Yeah, it was Shaq. Doc/owner was a Miami Heat fan and Shaq had just transferred to Miami. So, it took me like 20 minutes to sketch up the extension well enough for the machine shop to fill in the blanks and make it. The Doc and CEO both knew better than for me to hear any of that request from the CEO, as a favor to the Doc who hired me straight out of school and promoted me with fair pay for the next 12 years even when the company wasn't exactly rolling in profits... yeah, no problem for him. I forget if I was paid for that one or not, I think if anything was offered I just said "call it fair trade for all those color-prints I have been making..."

              5. In 20 years, the Doc had never run debt on the company books, except loans from himself (for which he paid himself healthy 12% annual high-risk interest and the company always paid him back on time.) CEO talked the board into ponying up $100K each for a total of $700K to make payroll in January, that ran out in March, payroll and various employment taxes were around $1M per year... CEO had no fucking clue how to manage money, for himself personally or for a company. He was ex-sales, and we needed sales expertise, but his expertise basically involved risking a lot of other peoples' money and occasionally pulling off a big win that paid back manyfold, but more often just crashing and burning - because that's how sales works: it usually doesn't, but the common wisdom is to always act like it will to increase your chances that it does. That kind of mindset does not belong in charge of an entire organization.

              If you are ever faced with a choice of who to promote to CEO of a company you care about, I would highly recommend against candidates whose primary background is sales. Additional black marks for alcoholism (very common in sales circles), a string of ex-wives and children, bonus black marks if the ex-wives are from other countries/cultures (can only woo women when he's a fancy exotic from overseas), forgetfulness, lying, acting like you never said a thing to pretend the thing wasn't a lie... He was actually not a bad guy to be around when things were going well, but about 6-9 months before the end he turned into a toxic pile of shit looking to spread the blame as far away from himself as possible.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday February 22, @03:19PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) on Thursday February 22, @03:19PM (#1345659)

        Sorry to hear that, but unironically its a better deal for a company planning on buying the remains for the balance sheet and/or customer list, so I could see if the employees were removed from the picture and severance is all paid off, etc, the remaining assets might be seen as more valuable.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 22, @03:35PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 22, @03:35PM (#1345663)

          I was still holding 80,000 shares of company stock, worth about $12K at the time of the layoff announcement - when it jumped to $20K a month later I figured that was my cue to sell...

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21, @11:43PM (1 child)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday February 21, @11:43PM (#1345565)

      >The general assumption is that after a massive layoff, the remaining employees will now be scared into working harder,

      Yeah, well, the company I moved to in 2003 did a round of -10% rank-and-yank in 2006, I stayed while a colleague hired in 2000 was let go. "Everybody back to work, business as usual, the worst in behind us..." Yeah, for that and a half dozen other reasons I started a job search and within 6 months had resigned and moved out of state. 3 weeks after I left, the CEO and CFO resigned. 3 months after I left they did another round of rank-and-yank that time -15%.

      Not fun times for the "survivors" by all accounts.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21, @11:46PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday February 21, @11:46PM (#1345566)

        > Layoffs also give management an excuse to get rid of people they otherwise couldn't for legal reasons. For example, the people who are seen as legally protected barring demonstrably really bad behavior under normal circumstances no longer are. So most big companies will call for a round of layoffs periodically just to allow for these people (who management just assumes are lurking in every department in approximately even distribution) to be tossed aside.

        Oh, those 2006 layoffs were definitely thick with "ethnic cleansing," good 'ole white boy run Texas company, hired with the standard expected diversity, but the layoffs hit mostly brown skin.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hendrikboom on Thursday February 22, @03:43AM (2 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @03:43AM (#1345601) Homepage Journal

    I would appreciate it greatly if Google were t be replaced by a company that follows standards instead of imposing them without adequate documentation.
    And would have useful error messages when you're trying to interface with their services.

    I'm still struggling with trying to get email through to gmail users.

    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Friday February 23, @06:09PM (1 child)

      by drussell (2678) on Friday February 23, @06:09PM (#1345911) Journal

      I'm still struggling with trying to get email through to gmail users.

      Your mailservers seem to now be fairly reliably listed now (although as I have checked occasionally over the past couple weeks, sometimes your MX records still seemed to disappear, but then be back when checked a few hours later) and both w.mx and b.mx seem to have addresses listed now (again, their DNS records were coming and going like the tide there for a while.)

      Even while checking right now, though, while I can query and receive an answer with your MX records right now, attempting to check your servers with several online MX-checking tools fails with the response that they cannot get DNS responses to resolve your names. It seems that something must still be failing intermittently on your end regarding DNS responses.

      Now, your main issues going forward are probably that while w.mx is listed with an IP, and is listed as your highest priority mail exchanger, it refuses connections and while b.mx does respond, it refuses to negotiate any sort of TLS connection, not even advertising any capability except old-school plaintext-only:

      250-PIPELINING
      250-SIZE 104857600
      250-VRFY
      250-ETRN
      250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
      250-8BITMIME
      250-DSN
      250 CHUNKING

      ... and additionally, even more importantly, you have no DMARC records being published! Both gmail and yahoo will definitely not exchange mail with any servers not publishing a DMARC TXT record in their DNS responses to indicate valid mail exchangers for the domain, and many others are very likely to outright refuse all communications as well.

      As for TLS, while I know google recently was in at least some cases still accepting plaintext, (maybe google still is, perhaps it was {outlook/live/microsoft} that wouldn't play plaintext paddy-cake, I can't recall off the top of my head,) there is a good chance that you now likely must support at least basic TLS connections with many providers. Plaintext-only will probably not play nice with an ever increasing number of e-mail services these days and as time marches onward. Even with a self-signed certificate, even with an expired one, you are more likely to be able to exchange mail with the big players.

      april's IP address is also on a few spam blacklists.

      You're getting there, but there still seems to be some work to do on your end. Good luck, friend!! :)

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Saturday February 24, @03:04AM

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @03:04AM (#1345994) Homepage Journal

        Thank you once again. Your explorations of my system have been quite helpful.

        I plod through, fixing one thing after another. But each takes time, from tracking down the relevant documentation to experimenting until I find what actually turns out to work.

        As far as I know now, my email sent to gmail are going out with TLS and a valid sfp record.

        Mail sent to hotmail, though, is blocked. Hotmail refuses to accept anything from my IP number, presumably because of one of the spam blacklists.

        Google has announced that they are going to require TLS and valid spf certification on all mail arriving at gmail from elsewhere, and that they are going to enforce it starting February 2024 (i.e., now). But they are going to enforce it gradually, at random, so that outside email administrators (like me) will get the message and have time to adapt before it becomes crippling. I think I've managed to do that. But because of random enforcement I can't be sure I'm not just lucky.

        As for spf, it contains literal IPv4 numbers. A rejection message from gmail referred me to a page where google required it to be prefixed with "ip4:". I hadn't found that anywhere in any of the documentation I had found previously about spf records. I put that in, discovered that tinydns requires the colon to be coded as an octal escape, and email started to get accepted by gmail.

        As for DMARC and DKIM, they are enforcing it on senders that send more than a thousand messages a day. I'm nowhere near that. And I've heard that one of these (I forget which) is hard on mailing lists. I have a kind of mailing list with about five people on it. I'll should figure out the workaround. It's going to bite me sometime.

        As for reverse DNS, it *should* work now.

        As for april, it should not exist any more. The machine in question died in December and refuses to boot any more. It used to be my main machine facing the outside world.

        And I guess it's best to put the MX entries in the proper priority order. And make sure the other authoritative DNS server is up and running again. It's not in my direct control.

        I have a theory about the spam blacklists. Until recently I set no password on my wifi. This was a service to my neighbors in my condo building. (one of their children once printed their school assignment on my printer. I was fine with that.) In January I received a message from my ISP that malicious attacks had been reported by a site in Australia (judging from its IP number) from my IP number. I discussed it with my ISP and it looked as if my open wifi was a problem; presumably one of my neighbours had an infected computer and that was responsible. There's a password on my wifi now which none of my neighbours know. I'm not sure how long it takes for such blocks to time out, if ever; I'll discuss it with my ISP soon.

        -- hendrik

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday February 22, @02:52PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Thursday February 22, @02:52PM (#1345653)

    Innumeracy and propaganda as usual. Any time you see a number that changed where "professional journalists" are VERY careful to not report the percentage, you know they're not doing journalism but doing propaganda.

    Google claims "Alphabet gross profit for the 12 months before Sept 30 2023 increased 4.91%" So, yes, a record high profit, but only increased "About four percent".

    Everyone knows the official Big Brother provided inflation rate is as fake as a $3 bill. However they never over-report, only massively underreport. According to usinflationcalculator.com "in 2023 the average inflation rate was 4.1%" Its probably in the teens using real world data, but if even Big Brother's lies are "At least an absolute minimum of four percent" then you can be extremely confident that Google's profits increased considerably slower than the inflation rate thus even if their salaries only barely keep up with the fake inflation rate, they'll be falling behind at the end of the year unless they start the layoffs.

    Also I'm not sure Google's costs are a strict match to the fake inflation rate. For example, the last year I have data, 2022, electric rate increases averaged 10.7%, Google probably does not use as much electricity as an aluminum refiner, but I'm sure the data centers are quite power hungry, so at least some of their expenses grew probably somewhere around ten percent-ish in 2023.

    Anyway, in summary, its not journalism, just innumerate propaganda as usual.

    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Saturday February 24, @03:14AM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 24, @03:14AM (#1345995) Homepage Journal

      According to usinflationcalculator.com "in 2023 the average inflation rate was 4.1%" Its probably in the teens using real world data

      I don't know how it is in the US, but here in Canada, the government statistician is very aware that price increases go at different rates in different sectors of the economy, and that the housing shortage and the resulting increasing cost of housing has a major effect on the cost of living. If it weren't for that, Canada would already have reached its inflation target.

      The only way to deal with it seems to be to build more houses or decrease the population. Either of those will take time.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday February 22, @03:16PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Thursday February 22, @03:16PM (#1345658)

    Poll idea: How much cloud storage do you use?

    I've figured out how to submit stories, although I'm a lazy bastard and don't often do so. Have not figured out how to submit polls, does not seem to be a simple dropdown.

    I've figured out how to look at old polls and use the search function on old polls and it seems the two previous polls about "storage" were not about cloud storage so this is a new one (... probably).

    People seem mildly amused at reporting their cloudy pr0n collection size or online backup collection size or whatever people are using cloud storage for, it might be a popular poll. I'd suggest "information order of magnitude" for cloud use. Bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes (now that's a lot of pr0n...) I miss the Cowboy Neal poll option but I guess that's the risk of getting old.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Thursday February 22, @03:33PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22, @03:33PM (#1345661) Journal

      Polls require a special editorial function to create - they cannot be created directly by a user. Most people suggest new polls by providing the question and an assortment of replies and make it as a submission. We can pick them out and put them into a different store of potential future polls. When required we can then put them into a special template and the system does the rest. We try to let polls run for as long as there is an interest in them. They 'time out', as does every other story or journal, after 1 month.

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