Amazon is reducing headcount in its Alexa organization.
The job cuts are reportedly continuing at Amazon.
The omnichannel giant has started laying off several hundred employees who work in its Alexa voice-enabled device division as of Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, according to CNBC. An Amazon spokesperson provided CNBC with a copy of a note Amazon VP of Alexa Fire and TV distributed to affected staffers in the U.S. and Canada.
The note said Amazon is “shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities” and maximizing its resources and efforts dedicated to generative AI. Amazon has not yet publicly indicated what Alexa initiatives it will wind down, but will also notify employees affected by this decision in India the week of Nov. 20 and in other regions as required by local regulations.
Amazon has been intensifying efforts to trim headcount as the e-tail giant faces a softening consumer marketplace. This includes an April 2023 decision to eliminate positions in its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing unit in the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica.
And in a March 2023 memo to employees, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company intends to eliminate about 9,000 workers. In the memo. Jassy explained that after hiring more than 450,000 people in the U.S. between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and September 2021, the company needs to reassess its staffing levels.
Affected employees will mostly be in the Amazon Web Services; people, experience and technology (PXT), advertising, and its Twitch streaming platform. At the beginning of 2023, Amazon said it plans to eliminate just over 18,000 roles in 2023, with the majority of cuts in its Amazon Stores and PXT organizations. This latest round of layoffs is happening in addition to the previously announced staff reductions.
In November 2022, Amazon publicly announced it had decided to “consolidate” some teams and programs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices).
The company also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in its PXT organization. Other areas of its business where Amazon has reduced headcount include the Whole Foods Market specialty grocery chain.