Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Amazon was planning to layoff approximately 10,000 employees. SVP of Devices & Services at Amazon, Dave Limp, who oversees all the work behind Fire TVs, Echos, Fire Tablets, Kindles, and much more, has now confirmed the cuts in a memo posted this morning. Specifics about the number of employees let go, and from which teams, were not revealed, but chatter suggests that Amazon Alexa teams have been hit the hardest.
If the 10,000 corporate employee figure is accurate, this would represent the largest reorganization in Amazon’s history, as Engadget points out. While a significant number on its own, it would account for only about three percent of Amazon’s 1.5 million global employees. Sources tell Voiecbot that “much of the Alexa core [team] remains untouched or lightly impacted,” so the voice assistant isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. They continue to say that teams around fringe Alexa capabilities, such as Alexa Ambient, Alexa Health, Alexa Games, and Alexa Communications, have been impacted the most.
Another division that seems to have seen cuts is Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming team, but an Amazon spokesperson has told The Verge that Amazon is still committed to Luna and that the service is not being killed off. I haven’t seen any news outlets suggest that the Fire TV teams have been impacted much, but they didn’t come out completely unscathed, since I have seen a few of my former Fire TV colleagues discussing the layoffs of team members on social media.
As for what this means to customers of Amazon’s devices, it’s hard to say for sure. There haven’t been any announcements regarding specific devices or services being discontinued as a result of these job cuts. I expect, come next September when Amazon typically announces new devices, that we’ll see far fewer weird and unusual products revealed and a stronger focus on strengthening the existing products that are already successful.