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

Nov 16 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc ( AMZN.O ) said on Wednesday it had laid off some employees in its devices group as a person familiar with the company said it still had about 10,000 jobs. I have targeted the cuts, including in its retail division and human resources.

Amazon’s announcement, the first since media outlets including Reuters reported its layoff plans on Monday, marked a dramatic turnaround for a company known for job creation and the latest layoffs in the technology sector. Shaped.

Amazon executive Dave Lump said in a blog post that the company has decided to consolidate teams in its device unit, which popularized speakers that users command through speech. He informed the employees on Tuesday.

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

Plans to eliminate about 10,000 roles through further unit cuts, which are still in flux, would cut Amazon’s corporate workforce of about 300,000 people by about 3 percent.

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For years, the online retailer has aimed to make Alexa, the voice assistant that powers the gadgets it sells, ubiquitous and available to order any purchase, though it was unclear if customers would. To what extent has it been accepted for more complex tasks than checking the news or the weather? .

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

At the time, Amazon claimed to have sold more than 100 million Alexa devices, which it has not publicly updated since. Founder Jeff Bezos later said that the company often sells Alexa devices at a discount and sometimes at a lower price.

While Amazon has worked hard to encode intelligent answers to any questions Alexa might ask users, OpenAI, backed by Alphabet Inc ( GOOGL.O ) Google and Microsoft Corp ( MSFT.O ), has developed chatbots. I have achieved success in being able to respond like a human being without any hands. holding

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After news of the layoffs, shares suffered and were down about 1% Wednesday afternoon.

ABOUT-FACE

The news follows Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc ( META.O ) last week announcing 11,000 job cuts at Twitter Inc, Microsoft, Snap Inc ( SNAP.N ) and others.

For Amazon, the cuts contrast with efforts months ago to double its base salary range to compete more aggressively for talent.

In September last year it marketed 55,000 corporate roles globally during a career fair, an increase that came only from hiring at Amazon’s fulfillment centers. In short order, the online bookseller that Bezos envisioned on a road trip 30 years ago had become America’s second-largest private employer, with more than 1.5 million workers, including warehouse staff.

The twist has come suddenly. The retailer is now responding to sales that could fall as much as 2% this holiday season, compared to a 38% increase two years ago. Amazon’s chief financial officer told reporters last month that consumers are facing tighter budgets amid inflation and higher fuel prices.

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Its cloud computing division, a profit engine for the company, also grew revenue more slowly quarter-over-quarter last year, when adjusted for foreign exchange.

Andy Jessee, who will take over as CEO in 2021, has focused on cutting costs and stemming a 42% year-to-date decline in Amazon’s share price.

During his tenure, Amazon announced the end of its virtual healthcare service for employers and the culling of its much-touted autonomous curbside delivery program. It also froze rising corporate hiring.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dustin in Palo Alto, California and Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Edited by Irwin Quiver, Mark Porter and Josie Cao

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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