Dropbox has announced that it is letting go of about 500 employees, which accounts for around 16% of its workforce. Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox, has attributed the layoffs to a shaky economy, but also said that it will enable the company to establish its AI division. Houston said that “our next stage of growth requires a different mix of skill sets, particularly in AI and early-stage product development. We’ve been bringing in great talent in these areas over the last couple years and we’ll need even more.” While the company will try to shift its employees to other teams, it will have to lay off some of them to make room for new hires for AI development.
Houston has stated that the company is still profitable despite the economic downturn, and the layoffs are part of the “natural maturation” process of the company. Dropbox will be consolidating its core and document workflow businesses and making changes to its product development teams. The CEO believes that the job cuts are necessary for the future of the company, and he is determined to ensure that Dropbox leads the way in the AI era. Dropbox has already introduced some AI-powered features in the past, such as the automatic text recognition feature it added in 2018, but now it is serious about making a shift into the AI industry. Houston stated that “machine intelligence” will allow Dropbox to better understand and serve its customers.
Affected employees will be given a minimum of 16 weeks of pay, up to six months of healthcare, and will be allowed to keep company devices for personal use. They will also receive career coaching and job placement support. Dropbox is making an effort to ensure that the layoffs will not be too disruptive to the employees’ lives. It remains to be seen how the company will fare in terms of its AI development, but it is clear that Dropbox is committed to making the necessary changes to stay ahead of the curve.