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Amazon to lay off ‘several hundred’ people from Alexa unit

Amazon said its devices and services business was unprofitable (Representation)

Amazon.com said Friday it was cutting jobs at its Alexa voice assistant unit, citing “changing” business priorities and a greater focus on generative artificial intelligence.

The job cuts affect “several hundred” employees working on Alexa, according to the email. A spokeswoman declined to say exactly how many were affected.

“We are shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities and what we know is most important to customers, including maximizing our resources and efforts focused on generative AI,” said Daniel Rausch, vice president of Alexa and Fire TV. said in the email. “These changes lead us to abandon certain initiatives.”

Amazon has declined across various divisions over the past week, including its music and gaming divisions and some human resources roles.

While most of the affected positions were in the devices division, a few worked on Alexa-related products in another unit, a spokeswoman said. Many companies are shifting resources toward generative AI, which can create software code and long text responses from short prompts.

Reuters reported in September that morale in the devices division had suffered due to concerns over what some saw as a weak product pipeline. In particular, people familiar with the matter pointed out that the nearly decade-old Alexa voice assistant has failed to keep pace with the era of generative artificial intelligence.

Amazon said at the time that “to suggest that a few anecdotes paint a picture of the reality of an organization as large and diverse as devices and services is inaccurate” and that it stood by its products.

Amazon said its devices and services business was unprofitable, without providing figures.

Alexa is a voice assistant that can be used to set timers, ask search queries, play music or as a home automation hub.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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