Amazon.com, the e-commerce major, has confirmed that it started laying off some employees in its devices group.
Amazon.com aims to cut around 10,000 jobs, including in its retail division and human resources, media report said.
Amazon executive Dave Limp in a blog post said the company decided to consolidate teams in its devices unit, which popularized speakers that consumers command through speech. It notified the employees it cut on Tuesday.
“We continue to face an unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment,” he said. “In light of this, we’ve been working over the last few months to further prioritize what matters most to our customers and the business.”
Plans to eliminate around 10,000 roles through reductions in more units would amount to about a 3 percent cut in Amazon’s roughly 300,000-person corporate workforce. The company has offered voluntary buyouts to some human-resources staff.
For years, the online retailer aimed to make Alexa, the voice assistant that powers gadgets it sells, ubiquitous and present to place any shopping order, though it was unclear how widely users have embraced it for more complex tasks than checking the news or weather, Reuters news report said.
A project inspired by a talking computer in science fiction show Star Trek, Alexa had garnered headcount that grew to 10,000 people by 2019.
At the time, Amazon touted sales of more than 100 million Alexa devices, a figure it has not since refreshed publicly. Founder Jeff Bezos later said the company often sold Alexa devices at a discount and sometimes below cost.
While Amazon has toiled to encode intelligent answers to any question Alexa might expect from users, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft-backed OpenAI have had breakthroughs in chatbots that could respond like a human without any hand holding.
Dozens of individuals posted on the professional networking site LinkedIn to say Amazon had laid them off, among them people who claimed to work on privacy for Alexa and software for the company’s cloud gaming service Luna.
Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms Inc last week announced plans to eliminate 11,000 jobs. Twitter, Microsoft, Snap, among others, are also cutting jobs.