Sunday, September 21, 2008

Google to close Arizona office

Google is closing its office in Tempe, Arizona on November 21. It's also closing offices in Denver and Dallas.

Alan Eustace, SVP of Engineering & Research, writes at Google's blog:
At Google, engineering is everything - no great engineers, no life enhancing products, no happy users. So we've spent a lot of time structuring our engineering operations to make the most of the exceptional talent that's available across America - developing local centers that give engineers the autonomy and opportunity to be truly innovative. These principles have served us well as we've grown, so when the model fails, it's doubly disappointing.

We opened our Phoenix office in 2006 and hoped that it would develop to support many of our internal engineering projects, the systems that make Google, well, Google. But we've found that despite everyone's best efforts, the projects our engineers have been working on in Arizona have been, and remain, highly fragmented. So after a lot of soul searching we have decided to incorporate work on these projects into teams elsewhere at Google. We will therefore be closing our Arizona office on November 21, 2008.

We'd like to thank everyone involved in this project for their energy and enthusiasm: our engineers; the engineering community in Arizona; Arizona State University; the city of Tempe; and the greater Phoenix area. We are now working with the Phoenix Googlers to transition them to other locations, or to identify other opportunities for them at Google.
I've been expecting to see Google start cutting back on expenses in various ways, as it seems to me that their model of business, with huge per-employee expenses, isn't sustainable for the long term. Apparently it's also the case that it's not cost-effective to put separate engineering centers in many locations--they probably need a critical mass of engineers and profitable projects that they didn't get here. This is probably good news for other high-tech companies and startups in Phoenix, as those Googlers who wish to stay in the Valley become available talent.


cowmix said...

I don't think this is particularly good news any way you look at it. If Google had 100s of talented engineers housed in their Tempe office and thus was brain-draining from other firms in the valley, this departure would be good news for at least some organizations. However from everything I know, they only grew their workforce here to 50 or so. The word on the street is that they just couldn't find the talent here in the Valley of th Sun. (In fact, from day one I heard a lot of grumbling that the office really should of been based in Tucson rather then the Phoenix/Tempe area.)

Even if that last point turns out to be not the whole truth.. it doesn't look good for Arizona.

donna said...

Shoulda come to San Diego like I told them when they kept calling me bugging me to work for them. ;^)

I loved those calls -- "Well, what do you want me to do for you?"

"We don't know, we just want to hire you!"