The cuts have an effect on a number of hundred workers engaged on Alexa, in keeping with the e-mail. A spokeswoman declined to elaborate on precisely what number of have been affected.
“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,” Daniel Rausch, vp of Alexa and Fire TV, mentioned within the e-mail. “These shifts are leading us to discontinue some initiatives.”
Amazon has been pulling again in quite a lot of divisions this month, together with in its music and gaming divisions and a few human assets roles.
While a lot of the jobs affected have been within the gadgets division, a number of have been engaged on Alexa-related merchandise in a distinct unit, a spokeswoman mentioned. Many corporations are shifting assets to generative AI, which may create software program code and prolonged textual content responses from quick prompts.
Alexa is a voice assistant that can be utilized to set timers, ask search queries, play music, or as a house automation hub.
Reuters reported in September that morale within the gadgets division had suffered over considerations about what some considered as a weak product pipeline. In explicit, individuals aware of the matter pointed to the Alexa voice assistant, now almost a decade previous, as having didn’t hold tempo within the age of generative synthetic intelligence.
Amazon mentioned on the time that “to suggest that a few anecdotes paint a picture of reality for an organization as large and diverse as Devices and Services is inaccurate,” and that it stood by its merchandise.
Amazon has mentioned its gadgets and companies enterprise will not be worthwhile, with out offering figures.
Only final month the system unit bought a brand new chief, Panos Panay, who joined the corporate from Microsoft, changing David Limp, a 13-year veteran who’s leaving later this yr to go Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket firm. Panay had overseen growth of the Surface pill.
Amazon has struggled to generate any income from Alexa, which many individuals use by Echo audio system or video screens. Most efforts to generate profits from it have centered on easing buying from Amazon.com.
Amazon has reduce greater than 27,000 jobs throughout the corporate over the previous yr, a part of a wave of US tech layoffs after the trade employed closely individuals throughout the pandemic.
The newest cuts come at the same time as Amazon reported third-quarter internet revenue that far exceeded analyst estimates and forecast income within the yr’s last quarter roughly in keeping with expectations. The fourth quarter is Amazon’s most vital, because it consists of vacation buying.
In the e-mail, Rausch mentioned he remained optimistic about Alexa.
“Incorporating a new large language model into a voice-forward, personal AI, has been and continues to be an enormous scientific and engineering challenge,” he wrote, utilizing one other time period for generative AI.
© Thomson Reuters 2023