Google employee axed over 10% raise leak

Reported attempt to keep employees loyal comes as rivalries with Microsoft, Facebook intensify

Everyone at Google is getting a nice raise. Well, almost everyone.

News broke early on Wednesday that Google was giving 10% raises to its entire workforce of 23,000 people worldwide.

By Wednesday night, however, CNNMoney.com reported that not every Google employee would, saying that the worker who leaked information about the raises has been fired.

A Google spokeswoman told Computerworld Wednesday evening that the company would not comment on "personnel matters."

The raises, which are reported to become effective in January, are an attempt to keep Google employees from jumping ship and heading to other Internet-focused companies like Facebook, reports the Wall Street Journal. About 10% of Facebook's staff, for instance, are former Google employees.

Earlier on Wednesday, Google declined to confirm the report directly, but said in an e-mailed statement to Computerworld: "While we don't typically comment on internal matters, we do believe that competitive compensation plans are important to the future of the company."

Google's reported attempt to keep employees loyal to the company comes as its rivalry with Microsoft intensifies. The two companies have a wide-ranging battleground -- from search engines to cloud-based office applications and browsers.

And now a new rivalry with Facebook is beginning to heat up.

Last month, Facebook turned to Microsoft instead of Google when it launched an effort to tie search more closely to social networking. Industry analysts said Microsoft's Bing search engine has failed to steal much, if any, of Google's share of the search market. However, by taking advantage of Facebook's worldwide popularity, Bing could start to make some gains.

More recently, Google and Facebook have been in something of a war of words surrounding the issue of data portability. The contention boils down to the ability to move user data back and forth between Web services, such as Google's Gmail and Facebook.

Analysts speculate that such issues could end up exposing Google's Achilles' heel.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at  @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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