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Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice chairman of Alexa and Hearth TV, despatched a notice to staffers informing them of the job cuts, based on a replica of the memo shared by an Amazon spokesperson.
“As we proceed to invent, we’re shifting a few of our efforts to higher align with our enterprise priorities, and what we all know issues most to prospects — which incorporates maximizing our assets and efforts centered on generative AI,” Rausch wrote within the memo, which was reported earlier by GeekWire. “These shifts are main us to discontinue some initiatives, which is leading to a number of hundred roles being eradicated.”
Amazon did not specify which Alexa initiatives it is winding down on account of the transfer.
The corporate will attain out on Friday to workers within the U.S. and Canada who had been affected. Staffers in India can be notified subsequent week, whereas timing in different areas depends on native laws, Rausch stated.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has been in cost-cutting mode since final yr as the corporate reckons with an financial downturn and slowing progress in its core retail enterprise. The corporate initiated the most important layoffs in its historical past, reducing greater than 27,000 jobs, and axed lots of its extra unprofitable initiatives. Amazon beforehand reduce workers in its units and companies division, which incorporates Alexa.
Since its launch in 2014, Amazon has made large investments in Alexa and assigned prime expertise to develop the expertise, largely on the course of Jeff Bezos, who first pitched Alexa and strongly believed voice would play a key function in how folks work together with computer systems sooner or later. At one level, Amazon had 5,000 folks engaged on Alexa and Echo.
Alexa and digital assistants prefer it had been as soon as groundbreaking expertise, however they face rising competitors from generative synthetic intelligence and chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. In September, Amazon teased updates to Alexa which can be tied to generative AI, similar to composing messages on behalf of customers. The unit overseeing Alexa additionally has a brand new chief, after longtime units head Dave Limp left to affix Bezos’ rocket firm Blue Origin. Limp was succeeded by veteran Microsoft government Panos Panay.
Rausch stated Amazon stays “inspired by the progress we’re making with Alexa,” noting that customers have interacted with the digital assistant “tens of thousands and thousands of instances each hour,” and there are greater than 500 million Alexa units in shoppers’ properties.
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