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

Nov 20, 2023

Amazon is slashing hundreds of jobs in the unit handling its popular voice assistant Alexa as it plows more resources into artificial intelligence. In a note to employees on Friday (November 17), Amazon's vice president of Alexa and Fire TV Daniel Rausch said that 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,” Rausch wrote.

He said that “several hundred” positions would be slashed, however, did not reveal a more precise figure. The job cuts announced on Friday will impact employees in the US, Canada and India.

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

The company has been implementing several AI initiatives in the last 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.

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

The announcement to cut positions follows more recent layoffs in Amazon's gaming and music teams while also adding 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.

(With AP inputs)