Amazon to lay off hundreds of employees in Alexa unit

The move is part of the company’s plan to shift focus primarily towards generative AI.

November 20 2023

E-commerce giant Amazon.com is set to lay off “several hundred employees” working at its Alexa voice assistant division.

This move comes as the company intends to “shift” its business priorities and focus more on generative artificial intelligence (AI), Reuters reported citing an email.

Amazon’s spokeswoman refused to confirm the exact number of employees affected by this decision.

In an email, Amazon Alexa and Fire TV vice-president Daniel Rausch said: “We are shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities, and what we know matters most to customers – which includes maximising our resources and efforts focused on generative AI. These shifts are leading us to discontinue some initiatives.”

A spokeswoman said that the job cuts have mainly impacted employees in the devices division, while some of them were also working on Alexa-related products under different units.

The latest job cuts will impact employees working at Amazon’s US, Canada and India offices.

A Bloomberg report quoted Rausch saying that employees at the US and Canada offices will be informed about this decision on 17 November morning (Seattle time), while employees in India will be informed this week.

Employees in other countries affected by the move may follow different timelines to support consultations with employee groups and other factors, the report added.

Amazon is one of the several companies looking to invest in generative artificial intelligence, which can help in creating software code and lengthy text responses from short prompts.

The e-commerce giant has recently eliminated several positions from its different divisions, including human resources.

Earlier this month, Amazon laid off employees from its music division across North America, Europe, and Latin America, followed by laying off 180 employees from its gaming division.

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