As Google prepares for what it believes will be worsening economic conditions, one of the first public casualties of its cost-cutting measures appears to be its laptop division responsible for the company’s flagship Pixelbook hardware.
The Verge is reporting that people familiar with the matter are confirming that Google has “canceled the next version of its Pixelbook laptop and dissolved the team responsible for building it.”
The news follows Alphabet (Google) CEO Sundar Pichai’s employee memo that explained a slow down on hiring at the company as well as other cost-cutting measures enacted to prepare for economically uncertain times.
Because of the hiring progress achieved so far this year, we’ll be slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year, while still supporting our most important opportunities. For the balance of 2022 and 2023, we’ll focus our hiring on engineering, technical and other critical roles, and make sure the great talent we do hire is aligned with our long-term priorities.
Moving forward, we need to be more entrepreneurial, working with greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we’ve shown on sunnier days. In some cases, that means consolidating where investments overlap and streamlining processes. In other cases, that means pausing development and re-deploying resources to higher priority areas. Making the company more efficient is up to all of us — we’ll be creating more ways for you all to engage and share ideas to help, so stay tuned.
Interestingly enough the new Pixelbook news comes after several quarters of declining Chromebook sales in its largest market, North America. Leading up to the pandemic, sales of Chromebooks had been trickling upwards and with many teachers and schools placed under quarantine, the environment for low-cost laptops and educational software catapulted Chromebooks into the 1st or 2nd positions of devices sold for a quick minute.
Unfortunately for Chromebooks, life is slowly going back to a new normal and the accelerated sales path of the low-cost laptops have since puttered out.
While it may only be tangential, Google pulling the plug on this year’s Pixelbook as well as dissolving the team seems like a reflection of market realities for the company.
The Pixelbook division appeared to be less consistent and more confused than its smartphone counterpart, where hardware releases were years apart, design languages switched with each release and due to the operating system, fewer standout features were highlighted.
At the end of the day, Google makes software and occasionally some hardware, but its expertise resides in algorithms and development. Similar to Microsoft, Google’s Chromebook legacy is based on the software and services it provides to 3rd party hardware makers.
While the Pixelbook may not be a continued endeavor at Google, there will be plenty of manufacturers creating hardware designs based on the operating system developed and provided by the company, we’ll just have to wait and see if Google decides to re-enter the market in the future with a new vision for ChromeOS on hardware.