Amazon is once again cutting jobs, this time in its Alexa voice assistant division. GeekWire got a hold of an internal Amazon memo that was sent out earlier today, revealing that “several hundred” of its Alexa team members will be laid off in the US and Canada.
The memo, which is credited to Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of Alexa and Fire TV, stated that the division is “shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities” and also to “maximizing our resources and efforts focused on generative AI.”
The bad news, according to Rausch, is that these decisions will also cause the company to “discontinue some initiatives which is resulting in several hundred roles being eliminated.” The memo did not offer a specific number for how many employees are affected, nor which of its “initiatives” will be shut down.
Like Apple, Amazon was taken aback by the sudden rise in generative AI that has been championed primarily by Microsoft, but also by Google, in the past year. It remains to be seen if Amazon can shift fast enough to catch up on these efforts. A recent report from The Information, citing unnamed sources, claims that Amazon is working on its own generative AI chatbot, which reportedly has the code name Olympus. It could be announced on November 27 during the company’s AWS Reinvent conference.
Amazon has been cutting workers left and right over the past year. In January it announced it would lay off 18,000 of its employees and in May, it revealed it would cut an additional 9,000 of its workers.
Even after those massive cuts, Amazon has continued to lay off workers in smaller but still significant events. Just last week, the company confirmed it would cut 180 team members from its Amazon Games division, and also an unspecified number of employees in its Amazon Music unit.