Amazon lays off some devices unit staff as it targets 10,000 cuts

Date:

Nov 16 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said on Wednesday it has laid off some employees in its appliance group. human resource department.

The announcement, Amazon’s first since media outlets including Reuters announced their layoff plans on Monday, heralded a dramatic shift for a company known for job creation and shaped the latest layoffs in the technology sector.

Amazon CEO Dave Limp said in a blog post that the company decided to consolidate teams into its devices unit, popularizing speakers that control consumers through voice. It notified workers on Tuesday that it has been laid off.

“We continue to face an unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment,” he said. “In light of this, we’ve been working over the past few months to further prioritize what matters most to our customers and the business.”

Plans, still in motion, to cut about 10,000 positions through more unit downsizing would amount to about a 3% reduction in Amazon’s roughly 300,000 workforce. The company has offered voluntary buyouts to some of its HR departments, said the source familiar with Amazon’s job cut plans.

For years, the online retailer has strived to make Alexa, the voice assistant that powers the gadgets it sells, ubiquitous and present to place every in-store order, even though it’s been unclear how widely users have embraced it for more complex tasks than checking the news or weather.

Alexa, a project inspired by a talking computer in the science fiction show Star Trek, had a workforce that grew to 10,000 people by 2019.

At the time, Amazon touted sales of more than 100 million Alexa devices, a figure it hasn’t made public since. Founder Jeff Bezos later said that the company often sold Alexa devices at a discount and sometimes below cost.

While Amazon has struggled to code intelligent answers to every question Alexa should expect from users, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O)-backed OpenAI has made breakthroughs in chatbots that can respond like a human without hold one hand.

Dozens of people posted to professional networking site LinkedIn saying Amazon had fired them, including people who claimed to be working on privacy for Alexa and software for the company’s cloud gaming service Luna.

Following the layoff news, stocks offset losses and closed about 2%.

OVER-FACE

The news follows Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) last week’s announcement to cut 11,000 jobs, in addition to layoffs at Twitter Inc, Microsoft, Snap Inc (SNAP.N) and others.

For Amazon, the cuts are in stark contrast to efforts months ago to double the base salary cap in order to more aggressively compete for talent.

As of last September, it had launched 55,000 business positions worldwide at a career fair, an increase dwarfed only by hiring at Amazon’s fulfillment centers. In short, the online bookseller Bezos envisioned on a road trip less than 30 years earlier had become America’s second-largest private employer, employing more than 1.5 million workers, including warehouse workers.

The turn has been abrupt. The retailer is now capitalizing on sales that could increase by just 2% this holiday season, compared to a 38% increase two years ago. Amazon’s chief financial officer told reporters last month that consumers had tighter budgets in the face of inflation and higher fuel costs.

The cloud computing division, a profit engine for the company, has also increased sales more slowly over the past year, after adjusting for exchange rates.

Andy Jassy, ​​who took over as CEO in 2021, has so far focused on cutting costs and curbing Amazon’s share price decline by 43% this year.

Under his tenure, Amazon announced the end of its virtual healthcare for employers and the pruning of its acclaimed autonomous curbside delivery program. It also froze incremental corporate hires.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto, California and Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Edited by Arun Koyyur, Mark Porter and Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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