Dropbox is laying off 500 people and pivoting to AI

Dropbox is shedding round 500 staff, making up about 16 % of the corporate’s whole workforce. In a memo to staff, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston attributes the layoffs to a rocky financial system — but in addition says that the cuts will permit the corporate to construct out its AI division.

“In a super world, we’d merely shift individuals from one staff to a different. And we’ve accomplished that wherever attainable,” Houston writes. “Nevertheless, our subsequent stage of development requires a special mixture of talent units, significantly in AI and early-stage product improvement. We’ve been bringing in nice expertise in these areas over the past couple years and we’ll want much more.”

As a part of the change, Houston says Dropbox will consolidate its core and doc workflow companies and that it’s additionally making changes to its product improvement groups. Houston provides that Dropbox remains to be “worthwhile” regardless of tough financial occasions and that the job cuts are a part of the “pure maturation” of the Dropbox enterprise.

“The modifications we’re asserting at present, whereas painful, are needed for our future,” Houston notes. “I’m decided to make sure that Dropbox is on the forefront of the AI period, simply as we had been on the forefront of the shift to cellular and the cloud. We’ll want all arms on deck as machine intelligence provides us the instruments to reimagine our present companies and invent new ones.”

Previously, Houston has expressed curiosity in exploring AI, with a 2018 letter from him and co-founder Arash Ferdowsi stating that “machine intelligence” will finally permit Dropbox to higher perceive and serve its prospects. The file internet hosting service has launched some AI-powered options over time, akin to the automated textual content recognition function it added in 2018. Nevertheless, shedding staff simply to interchange them with ones with expertise in AI indicators that Dropbox is severe about making a shift into the trade.

Affected staff will be capable of obtain a minimal of 16 weeks of pay, as much as six months of healthcare, and the flexibility to maintain firm units for private use. They’ll additionally obtain profession teaching and job placement help.

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