Essential is alive but unwell, laying off 30 percent of its workforce to focus on a new product

Essential is alive but unwell, laying off 30 percent of its workforce to focus on a new product
Essential Products, the (overly) ambitious startup founded around three years ago by ex-Googler and Android co-creator Andy Rubin, may not be dead... yet, but it’s certainly not doing too well either.

After reportedly pulling the plug on a standard sequel to the promising but poorly reviewed and weak-selling Essential Phone, the company was recently rumored to be working on an entirely different type of product from anything we’ve ever seen.

While that AI-centric project might still be in development, it appears a large chunk of Essential’s current workforce is considered unnecessary. We’re talking a whopping 30 percent of Rubin’s employees, which inside sources say were involved in the hardware and sales departments.

An Essential spokesperson has confirmed to Bloomberg an unspecified number of people are “leaving the company”, getting all the help they need to pursue the future career path of their choice.

Since this is still a relatively small outfit with a limited number of focus areas, that staggering percentage probably translates into just a few dozen layoffs. But the move strongly suggests Essential is gathering all its resources to try one last hardware gamble. A “truly game changing consumer product” or bust. 

Keep in mind that Rubin considered selling the company at one point too, although every day that goes by without a new product unveiled is causing its value to shrink. Canceling devices is even worse, which seems to have happened with the Essential Home. The headphone jack-reviving Audio Adapter HD mod is also yet to commercially materialize, but that’s likely set to change pretty soon. Even after this painful round of layoffs.

source: Bloomberg

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