Given the competition within the laptop market, this isn't too surprising.
Considering these cutbacks aren't necessarily permanent - Google has asked employees to seek temporary roles within other divisions - there's still a possibility that certain people will be transferred back to the Create team after the current situation has been assessed. Perhaps that's why the company is reportedly reassigning some employees from the "Create" team to other units within it.
Is the hardware honeymoon over at Google?
To be clear, the employee-shifting that's been reported seems to be concentrated for now within Google's tablet and laptop teams. The division is responsible for the Pixel phones, Google Home speakers, the Chromecast, Google Wi-Fi, and lately, the Nest smart home division.
Manufacturing roles on Create were not impacted by the recent downsizing, signaling Google's near term product lineup will likely not change. It seems as though Google will launch more Android devices even before it announces Pixel 4 late in 2019. The Pixelbook, like the Chromebook Pixel before it, is just a high-end Chrome OS laptop.
However, at least once source said that there was a "bunch of stuff in the works" that may now no longer see the light of day.
Rumors of a Pixelbook 2 have been swirling since the company's hardware event last October though it has yet to be released. While there is no indication that Google plans to abandon the Pixelbook, the staff reductions suggest that Google is unlikely to flesh out its in-house line of Chromebooks with a wider variety of products and prices. Was reception to the tablet so poor that it scared Google away from computer hardware entirely - at least for now?
Although the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook boast a premium design and pack decent hardware, their value proposition is low and software optimizations were questionable and often show the company's lack of commitment towards improving Chrome OS.
The move comes after the group received pressure to turn Google Hardware into "a real business" from higher-ups at Google/Alphabet. Since then, sources tell us that pressure has increased to make hardware at Google into a "real business".
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