Google-owned Waze will lay off 30 employees out of a total workforce constituting of 555 people, which is about five percent of its workforce, according to an email sent to staff by Noam Bardin, the firm's CEO. The mapping service will also close several of its offices in the Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions.
Waze said the layoffs were partly due to COVID-19, which has emptied roadways globally after many cities were placed into lockdown. Due to the restrictions, many began working from home, and thus, fewer people used the navigation service for declining needs. Waze measures its usage by monthly active users or the number of customers using the app monthly and driven kilometers. Both metrics have seen a dip in recent months.
At one point during the lockdown, global weekly driven kilometers had dipped by 70 percent, however, since June, Waze has seen a recovery in usage in countries where restrictions have been lifted. Bardin wrote:
"This has forced us to rethink priorities and we’ve decided to focus our resources on product improvements for our users, accelerate our investments in technical infrastructure, and refocus our sales and marketing efforts on a small number of high-value countries."
Most of the employees being let go are from the firm's sales, marketing, and partnerships divisions. Waze is also closing offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina, and shifting focus to countries where its business is increasing, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Brazil, and Mexico.
Source: The Verge