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Amazon Implements Major Layoffs in Cloud Computing Division

Amazon Web Services (AWS) confirms significant job cuts affecting various departments.
Cover Image Source: A general view of signage showing the Amazon logo on a warehouse | Getty Images | Photo by John Keeble
Cover Image Source: A general view of signage showing the Amazon logo on a warehouse | Getty Images | Photo by John Keeble

In a recent development, Amazon's cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has announced significant job cuts affecting hundreds of employees across its technology, sales, and marketing departments. The company confirmed this decision on Wednesday, emphasizing its commitment to streamlining operations while maintaining support for affected employees during their transition.

The Amazon Prime logo is displayed on the side of an Amazon delivery truck on June 21, 2023 in Richmond, California | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan
Image Source: The Amazon Prime logo | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan

"We’ve identified a few targeted areas of the organization we need to streamline in order to continue focusing our efforts on the key strategic areas that we believe will deliver maximum impact," an Amazon Web Services spokesperson said in a statement. "We didn’t make these decisions lightly, and we’re committed to supporting the employees throughout their transition to new roles in and outside of Amazon."

The news of these layoffs was initially reported by GeekWire, shedding light on a strategic shift within AWS amid changing market dynamics. AWS, which has been a major revenue driver for Amazon, has witnessed a slowdown in sales growth in recent quarters, attributed partly to companies scaling back cloud spending amidst economic uncertainties.

Employees in the United States will be provided with a reassuring buffer as they navigate this transition. With a commitment to stability and support, Amazon has pledged to maintain regular pay and benefits for a minimum of 60 days, ensuring that employees have a financial safety net during this period of change.

Besides continued compensation and benefits, employees will have the opportunity to qualify for a severance package.

 A general view outside an Amazon UK Services Ltd Warehouse at Leeds Distribution Park on December 13, 2023 in Leeds, United Kingdom.|Getty Images| Photo by Nathan Stirk
Image Source: A general view outside an Amazon warehouse | Getty Images | Photo by Nathan Stirk

The layoffs particularly impact AWS' store technology team, responsible for innovations like the cashierless checkout systems deployed in Amazon's physical stores. This includes technologies such as Just Walk Out, Dash smart carts, and Amazon One palm-based payment systems.

The integration of the store technology team into AWS in 2022 marked a strategic shift within Amazon, emphasizing the convergence of retail and cloud computing technologies.

The decision to trim the store technology division stems from a broader strategic realignment, reflecting changes in the deployment of applications across Amazon's owned and third-party stores. Furthermore, this announcement follows a series of layoffs initiated by Amazon over the past year, affecting various business units like Twitch, Audible, Buy with Prime, and Prime Video, and MGM Studios.

Job seekers stand in line at the Hyatt booth setup at the Mega South Florida Job | Getty Images | Photo by Joe Raedle
Image Source: Job seekers stand in line at the Hyatt booth set up at the Mega South Florida Job | Getty Images | Photo by Joe Raedle

The company embarked on its largest layoff spree in history in 2022, culminating in the termination of over 27,000 jobs across diverse departments. Audible, the prominent online audiobook and podcast service, has disclosed plans to cut approximately 5% of its workforce.

CEO Bob Carrigan conveyed this message to employees via a memo, indicating that while the company remains robust, it confronts a progressively demanding business environment. 

As reported by the layoff-tracking website, 7,528 employees across 48 tech companies have been laid off as of January 15. The recent layoffs serve as an indicator of another potentially challenging year ahead for the tech industry, following a wave of layoffs that affected tens of thousands of employees. In 2023, over 1,150 tech companies terminated employment for more than 260,000 individuals.