Is a Fired Google Employee Less Sympathetic Than Someone Canned by Bank of America?
If you want to earn ire, try laying off employees. Just ask Bank of America (BAC) or Merck (MRK). The Institute For Policy Studies released a report about executive compensation two years ago, concluded CEOs make more when they lay off people, and decried the injustice.
But at Google (GOOG), Larry Page is cutting 4,000 people at Motorola Mobility, dumping them in a terrible job market, and it isn’t sparking rage. Nobody's calling Larry Page "Neutron Larry," as they did Jack Welch for cutting employment mercilessly at General Electric (GE) in his early days.
Is it considered ok for tech companies to cut employees, or at least tech companies that are doing well? (Hewlett Packard (HPQ) took heat in the above-mentioned study.) Are tech companies that are performing held to a different standard? At a time when politicians are obsessed by creating jobs, perhaps they have a harder time criticizing companies in a sector that seems one of the few bright spots in the economy. Maybe someone thinks it’s better to let Google do what it needs to do, and cut who it needs to cut, to focus on this.
And on these.
If so, that may be good for investors -- less so for all the Motorola employees now getting pink-slipped.