Amazon Lays Off Hundreds in Alexa Division, Focuses on Generative AI

Amazon confirmed layoffs in its Alexa division to focus on generative AI, aligning with customer needs and company restructuring.

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Amazon has confirmed layoffs of “several hundred” jobs in its Alexa division as part of the company’s strategic reprioritization and cost-cutting initiatives that began in early 2023. The move is aimed at aligning with customer needs and priorities, with a focus on generative AI.

Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s VP of Alexa and Fire TV, mentioned in a memo that these shifts would result in the discontinuation of some initiatives, leading to job cuts.

While Amazon did not specify the exact number of layoffs, the company has cut around 27,000 jobs in 2023. The devices and services division, including the Alexa group, had already been affected by the initial downsizing.

Amazon’s emphasis on generative AI aligns with its broader strategy, as seen with the launch of new image-generation solutions for Amazon Ads. This allows marketing teams to leverage AI for creating ad content at scale. The company also highlighted the potential value of generative AI for AWS customers.

Despite Alexa and Amazon’s smart home devices gaining attention for their commerce potential, with nearly three-quarters of smart-speaker usage being commerce-related, Amazon seems to be shifting its focus toward the growth and applications of generative AI in various business areas.

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