Alphabet robotics subsidiary Intrinsic lays off 20% staff

The move to downsize comes after another Alphabet subsidiary Verily decided to lay off around 240 employees this week.

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Layoffs at Alphabet’s “Other Bets” division has widened to include its robotics subsidiary Intrinsic AI, which is eliminating about 20% of its workforce or roughly 40 employees, according to reports.

Intrinsic AI came out of Alphabet's X research unit, after incubating there for close to five years. It is a robotics firm that is working on developing artificial intelligence-based software to bolster the use of robots in industries and commercial environments.

The news about the company’s layoffs was first report by The Information. An email sent to Intrinsic AI didn’t immediately receive a response.

Last month, Intrinsic acquired OSRC, the commercial arm of Open Robotics. A post on TeamBlind’s professional network claims that the decision to layoff staffers was decided right after the acquisition as the company needed to maintain employee headcount.

The first of Alphabet layoffs came this week from the company's life sciences subsidiary Verily as part of its One Verily program, under which it eliminated 240 roles amounting to 15% of its 1,600-strong workforce to simplify its operating model.

The downsizing at Intrinsic seems to follow the philosophy of the One Verily program as the robotics firm hinted at accelerating commercial success while discussing the layoffs.

“This (downsizing) decision was made in light of shifts in prioritization and our longer-term strategic direction. It will ensure Intrinsic can continue to allocate resources to our highest priority initiatives, such as building our software and AI platform, integrating the recent strategic acquisitions of Vicarious and OSRC (commercial arm Open Robotics), and working with key industry partners,” according to a company statement sernt to media.

Alphabet and its employees have been under pressure to generate more revenue since July last year when the company declared a hiring freeze. The freeze was followed by the launch of the Simplicity Sprint program to boost staff efficiency and productivity as the company posted weaker-than-expected revenue for two consecutive quarters.

Layoffs at technology companies began around August last year and has continued in the first weeks of January this year with large companies such as Amazon and Salesforce firing close to 26,000 employees.

(This story has been updated to change attribution for Intrinsic's media statement.)

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