Google-owned Waze Sacks Employees, Closes Offices Due to Coronavirus Crisis

Israeli navigation app expected to lay off about 30 of its 555 employees, CEO says in email to workers, citing reduced travel during the pandemic and therefore less use of its services

Sagi Cohen
Sagi Cohen
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Waze, an Israeli mobile satellite navigation application, is seen on a smartphone in Tel Aviv, May 9, 2013.
Waze, an Israeli mobile satellite navigation application, is seen on a smartphone in Tel Aviv, May 9, 2013.Credit: Nir Elias/Reuters

Google-owned Israeli navigation app Waze is expected to lay off about 30 of its 555 employees amid the coronavirus crisis, according to an email the company’s CEO Noam Bardin sent to workers and reported by tech news website The Verge on Thursday.

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Most of the employees to lose their jobs are from the company’s marketing, sales and partnerships divisions, but the company intends to hire a similar number of new workers for its technology and engineering teams.

The company is also said to be going to close some of its offices in Asia and Latin America. It remains unclear whether the cuts are expected to affect its Israel offices.

Bardin, quoted by The Verge, explained in his email, “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.”

Waze, according to the report, said the layoffs come as a result of the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced travel and therefore the use of the app, contributing to less expenditure by small businesses on advertising on Waze’s platform.

The company’s carpool service has also taken a hit during the pandemic, with fewer people traveling to work or willing to share rides with strangers.