Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Google is reportedly scaling back its laptop and tablet divisions

Google is reportedly scaling back its laptop and tablet divisions

It seems the majority of employees subject to cutbacks are hardware engineers, product managers, and related support staff, and after being notified of these changes in the last two weeks, those "floating" workers have been looking for positions in Google's smartphone department or one of Alphabet's other hardware businesses like Nest. It is possible that Google may have been working on other related hardware initiatives to fill out its previous product roadmap and may have chose to concentrate exclusively on a more limited hardware program.

An internal source close to Business Insider told that Google is now going through "roadmap cutbacks" and hence the decision.

By the looks of things, Google could also ditch plans for certain projects, according to the aforementioned source citing people familiar with the matter, as the company requested employees in the hardware group to temporarily seek new roles in other divisions or Alphabet companies. Google has repeatedly stressed it is in the hardware business for the long run, even as the efforts have driven up expenses and weighed down the rich profit margins of Google's online ad business.

Today, the Create division is responsible for the Pixelbook laptop and Pixel Slate tablet amongst the company's wider swath of "Made by Google" products. Instead, Google will likely invest more in Chrome OS software, while the company would continue to work with device manufacturers to build laptops running it. One source confirmed that the company indeed had "a bunch of stuff in the works" prior to the employee shift. This would suggest that Google has only canceled long-term products and has the intention of completing its near-term devices. The company launched its Pixel Slate - a tablet that acts like a laptop, meant to compete with Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's iPad Pro - to a similar, cold reception.

That said, while Google appears to be slowing down its hardware release plans, it doesn't seem to be giving up on making gadgets altogether.

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