• From the New York Times:
"Alphabet, the parent company of Google, said on Friday that it plans to cut 12,000 jobs, becoming the latest technology company to reduce its work force after a hiring spree during the pandemic and concerns about a broader economic slowdown.
"The job cuts announced by Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s chief executive, amount to about 6 percent of the company’s global work force. Mr. Pichai said the company expanded too rapidly during the pandemic, when demand for digital services boomed … Google joins a list of other technology companies that have laid off workers after concluding they had overextended under the belief that the pandemic-fueled boom for digital services and online tools represented a new normal. Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Twitter are among others who have announced thousands of job cuts."
• From Reuters:
"E-commerce giant Amazon.com said on Thursday it will increase the prices of some of its music subscription plans from February.
"The price of Amazon Music's 'Unlimited Individual Plan' will go up by $1 to $10.99 per month, while its 'Unlimited Individual Student Plan' will go up to $5.99 from $4.99 per month, according to the company's FAQ page. The company said the updated pricing starts on Feb. 21 and customers will begin seeing the new price on their bill following that date."
• From Bloomberg:
"Apple Inc. is working on a slate of devices aimed at challenging Amazon.com Inc. and Google in the smart-home market, including new displays and a faster TV set-top box, after relaunching its larger HomePod speaker.
"The push into smart displays will start with a tablet product — essentially a low-end iPad — that can control things like thermostats and lights, show video and handle FaceTime chats, people with knowledge of the plans said. The product could be mounted on walls or elsewhere using magnetic fasteners, positioning it as more of a home gadget than a regular iPad.
"Apple has also discussed the idea of building larger smart-home displays, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
"While the iPad already has smart-home features, standalone smart-home devices — often designed as countertop or wall-mounted appliances — have grown increasingly popular. Amazon sells a line of Echo Show products with displays, while Google offers its Nest Hub. And the latter company — part of Alphabet Inc. — is readying a Pixel Tablet with an optional stand. Apple also has discussed creating a home stand for its current iPads."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"Wayfair Inc. is preparing to lay off more than 1,000 workers, according to people familiar with the matter, as the online furniture seller confronts shrinking sales after a pandemic-driven boom.
"Wayfair’s restructuring, the second round of layoffs in six months, is expected to affect more than 5% of the workforce at the Boston-based company. Wayfair said in August it was cutting about 870 jobs, or about 5% of its global workforce.
"The company joins Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and a growing list of technology companies to slash jobs in recent months amid signs of slowing consumer spending, high inflation and rising interest rates.
"Wayfair, like many of these firms, aggressively added staff during the pandemic to expand its warehouse operations and customer-service teams. It had 16,681 full-time equivalent employees as of the end of 2021, up from 12,100 at the end of 2018. Its customer-service staff roughly doubled over that period to about 4,900 people, according to company filings."