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Google Dismisses 28 Employees Amid Controversy Over Israeli Cloud Contract

In a move that sparked controversy, Google fired 28 employees following their protest against the company’s cloud computing contract with the Israeli government. The firings came following sit-in protests at Google’s offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, which led to the arrests of nine employees.

The protests were mainly organized by a group known as No Tech For Apartheid, and centered around “Project Nimbus,” a $1.2 billion contract signed in 2021. Under this contract, Google and Amazon are tasked with provide the Israeli government with cloud computing and artificial systems. intelligence services. Google, however, maintains that Nimbus is not used for weapons or intelligence gathering.

Google blamed the firing of the 28 employees on “completely unacceptable behavior” that prevented some workers from carrying out their duties and created a threatening atmosphere. The tech giant, based in Mountain View, California, said it was still investigating incidents during the protests, suggesting further layoffs could be on the horizon.

In a blog post, No Tech For Apartheid accused Google of misrepresenting the events that occurred in its offices during the “peaceful sit-in.” The group said the protest received overwhelming support from other employees who had not participated. “This flagrant act of retaliation is a clear indication that Google values its $1.2 billion contract with the genocidal Israeli government and military more than its own workers,” the group said.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, without referring to a specific incident, indicated in a blog post that employees will be held to high standards as the company steps up its efforts to advance its AI technology. He emphasized that Google is a business, not a platform for disruptive behavior or political debate.

The contract that has sparked the ire of some Google employees concerns the company’s cloud computing division, overseen by former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian. Under Kurian’s leadership, cloud computing has become one of Google’s fastest-growing divisions, with revenue of $33 billion last year, marking a 26% increase from 2022.

This isn’t the first time Google employees have staged protests against the company’s deals. In 2018, Google decided to end a contract with the US Department of Defense, known as “Project Maven,” to help the military analyze military videos, following employee protests. Despite these internal disagreements, Google continues to thrive, with its revenue generated primarily through digital advertising sold through its dominant search engine. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., posted a profit of $74 billion last year and currently employs about 182,000 workers worldwide.

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