Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Dave Limp, the Amazon senior vice president in charge of the company's devices business, says "the company remains committed to building out the Alexa ecosystem despite job cuts in the once fast-growing division."
The story notes that "when Amazon last month initiated its biggest-ever round of layoffs, they fell first and hardest on the Devices and Services group. The unit is responsible for the Alexa voice-activated assistant, Echo smart speakers, Fire streaming devices and home robots."
But Limp says, "Is there some lack of commitment to Amazon’s devices and services business? By any measure, the answer is no.”
Limp "cited continued big bets on Alexa, Zoox self-driving taxis and Kuiper internet satellites as evidence that Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy is willing to invest billions on projects that might not pay off for years.
"'I’ve yet to be in a meeting where he doesn’t call out those as big inventions and big bets,' Limp said. 'But at the same time, he also is inspecting them and spending time with them'."
The story goes on:
"Limp insisted that engagement with Alexa has been growing and that the number of people using the software is at an all-time high. But he conceded that the devices group is still not profitable, though he disputed published reports that operating losses in recent years had totaled as much as $5 billion. (Limp declined to provide a precise figure.)
"The devices themselves are often sold at or near cost. Becoming profitable will require persuading customers who use the hardware to pay for such services as online shopping, music or audiobooks, Limp said."
- KC's View:
I am reminded of what the British writer G. K. Chesterton once said:
“Art consists in limitation."
Sometimes, innovation thrives to a greater degree when borders are created. And maybe that is exactly what Amazon is doing here.