Amazon Shuts Down Hundreds of Alexa Positions
Amazon has begun layoffs of several hundred employees working on Alexa. The decision seems to be part of ongoing cost reductions across the tech giant.
“As we continue to invent, we’re shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities, and what we know matters most to customers — which includes maximizing our resources and efforts focused on generative AI,” Alexa and Fire TV vice president Daniel Rausch wrote in a memo first shared by GeekWire. “These shifts are leading us to discontinue some initiatives, which is resulting in several hundred roles being eliminated.”
Amazon did not specify which projects would be discontinued within the Alexa division but confirmed that most affected employees are based in the U.S. and Canada. Additional notifications will go out next week in India, with timing in other regions pending local laws. The cuts come as Amazon aims to streamline costs amid economic uncertainty and slowing growth in its retail arm. Last year, Amazon initiated its largest-ever job cuts, eliminating over 27,000 roles after rapid pandemic hiring.
Alexa began as a business initiative almost a decade ago, launching in 2014, and has previously dealt with device and service cuts. Under Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Alexa and Echo smart speakers saw substantial investment and talent recruitment. The voice assistant was once considered groundbreaking technology. But Alexa now faces surging competition from chatbots leveraging generative AI like ChatGPT. The job cuts suggest the company is rethinking its once-signature voice innovation in light of AI advances. Alexa introduced some generative capabilities last fall, hinting at its evolving direction.