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Google Is Mortal

By - November 25, 2008

I reported skeptically on this issue earlier, but let’s call a spade a spade. Google used its contractor workforce to quickly scale without having to spend on permanent employees, and now, it’s using that same workforce to cut back costs. I’ve heard from a fair number of “laid off” contractors, in particular in Europe, and the reality is simply that: Google’s use of contractors outstripped the company’s ability to leverage them to the bottom line, and something had to be done. How much of this has to do with slowing growth? Hard to say, but it’s also hard to say that growth was not slowing. The world is in crisis, after all.

It’s a smart move by Google (control operating costs without hurting core employee base), but from the point of view of the folks effected, it’s layoffs nevertheless. Google most likely will grow past these cuts in its contractor workforce in the coming year(s), but the cutback is just that, a cutback. Cnet has more here.

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  • http://songbird.de nmw

    Here some lines (about mortality) from one of the masters (the appreciation of whom comes with age):

    My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
    False gods, I scuff
    At pettiness which plays so rough
    Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
    Kick my legs to crash it off
    Say okay, I have had enough
    What else can you show me?

    And if my thought-dreams could be seen
    They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
    But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.

    http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/its-alright-ma-im-only-bleeding

  • Roberto from Brazil

    Google is just a search site and will soon go out of mainstreas, like Altavista and a bunch of others.

  • JG

    It’s a smart move by Google (control operating costs without hurting core employee base), but from the point of view of the folks effected, it’s layoffs nevertheless.

    Well, even if its a financially smart move by Google, it seems like a poor PR move. When the headlines scream “10,000 laid off”, public perception does not recognize a difference between contractor and regular employee, any more than the public distinguishes between a contractor death vs. regular soldier death in Iraq. A death is a death. A layoff is a layoff. And 10,000 is mighty scary.