Amazon lays off hundreds in its Alexa division as it ploughs resources into AI

17 November 2023, 20:44

Amazon Alexa Android app
MONTREAL, CANADA – August 28, 2018: Amazon Alexa android app on Samsung s8 screen in a hand. Amazon Alexa is a virtual assistant developed by Amazon,. Picture: PA

Seattle-based Amazon is in fierce competition with other tech companies rushing to capitalise on the generative AI craze.

Amazon is cutting hundreds of jobs in the unit that handles its popular voice assistant Alexa as it ploughs more resources into artificial intelligence.

In a note to employees on Friday, Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of Alexa and Fire TV, said the company is eliminating certain roles because it is ditching some initiatives.

“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 maximising our resources and efforts focused on generative AI,” Mr Rausch wrote.

He said “several hundred” positions would be cut but did not give a more precise figure.

An Amazon Alexa smart speaker
Amazon unveiled an update to Alexa in September that infuses it with more generative AI features (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Seattle-based Amazon is in fierce competition with other tech companies rushing to capitalise on the generative AI craze.

The company has been implementing a host of AI initiatives in the past few months, from infusing the technology into customer reviews to providing services that allow developers to build their own AI tools on its AWS cloud infrastructure.

In September, Amazon unveiled an update to Alexa that infuses it with more generative AI features.

The job cuts announced on Friday will impact employees in the US, Canada and India.

It follows more recent layoffs in Amazon’s gaming and music teams, and also adds to the 27,000 employees the company laid off during the later parts of last year and earlier this year.

Amazon’s Alexa unit was also impacted by those cuts.

By Press Association

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