Alphabet-owned Google confirmed reports it culled hundreds of employees in a drive to focus spending on AI, as it continues to jostle for position in the sector. 

The New York Times revealed the search giant cut staff in its core engineering division as well as those responsible for overseeing Google’s voice assistant and hardware including Pixel-branded devices.  

A Google representative told Mobile World Live the cuts were linked to a desire to invest in its “biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead”.

“To best position us for these opportunities, throughout the second half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities”.

In an earnings call in October 2023, CFO Ruth Porat said the company would “reengineer its cost base” to free up cash “to support our growth priorities, most important of which is AI”.  

Last month Google launched Gemini, a set of generative AI systems. The company is also AI start-up Anthropic’s largest financial backer.