October 24, 2023
Turbulent Times in the Tech Industry: From Airborne Incidents to Political Debates
- Pilot’s Perilous Intent
An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot was booked into jail in Oregon on Monday morning on 83 attempted murder charges, after he allegedly tried to shut off the engines of a San Francisco-bound plane.
- The Great Puppet Heist
Thieves stole a truck filled with hundreds of handmade puppets used in a nationally touring theater show of large-scale shadow puppetry early Monday, leaving the production company empty-handed after four San Francisco shows.
The stolen U-Haul truck contained 500 puppets, props, costumes, projectors and other items used to stage puppet master up a two-day run Sunday at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.
- Tech Titans Exit Web Summit
Google and Meta are the latest companies to drop out of a major tech summit over the event founder’s remarks on Israel, company representatives told multiple outlets.
The tech giants joined a growing number of attendees and sponsors withdrawing from Web Summit’s global technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, next month after Chief Executive Paddy Cosgrave condemned Western support for Israel.
Cosgrave accused Israel of committing war crimes in a series of posts that spurred huge backlash on X, formerly known as Twitter. He later resigned and apologized in a statement on the Web Summit website, saying his comments on the Israeli-Hamas conflict had “caused profound hurt.”
- Microsoft’s Real Estate Rethink
Microsoft has listed up to 49,000 square feet for sublease in one of San Francisco’s tallest towers, 555 California St.
The tech giant is offering sublease space as small as 4,500 square feet up to 49,000 square feet, with a term through May 2029, according to marketing materials.
The move comes weeks after the company opened a new artificial intelligence lab in the offices, offering free coworking space for clients in the fast-growing industry. Microsoft-owned LinkedIn also just listed part of its 222 Second St. offices for sublease in South of Market and laid off 668 employees
The moves underscore that cost-cutting is continuing in the tech sector a year after mass layoffs began and remote work remains entrenched. They come at a time when some AI companies are growing, but not enough to offset the city’s growing office vacancy rate, which hit a record high 34% in September.
- Qualcomm Cuts Workforce
Qualcomm, the tech giant known best for its dominance of the smartphone chip industry, is laying off 1,258 California workers, according to documents submitted to the California Employment Development Department.