Amazon axes at least 500 employees including Singapore staff

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American tech giant Amazon is laying off several hundred of its employees across its streaming and studio operations, according to an email sent by Mike Hopkins, the Senior Vice President at Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, on Wednesday (January 10).

The layoffs come as the e-commerce giant looks to “increase investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact” for the business’s long-term success.

Amazon’s announcement of the layoffs came the same day as the live-streaming platform and the subsidiary of the e-commerce giant, Twitch, disclosed that it would lay off about 35 per cent of its workforce, or about 500 employees, across various locations, including Singapore.

While the live-streaming platform’s business “remains strong”, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy shared in a blog post that the organisation has made this “difficult decision” as the headcount of Twitch remains “meaningfully larger than it needs to be given the size of its business” despite “cutting costs” and “making various decisions to be more efficient” over the past year.

Last year we paid out over US$1 billion to streamers. So while the Twitch business remains strong, for some time now the organization has been sized based upon where we optimistically expect our business to be in three or more years, not where we’re at today.

As with many other companies in the tech space, we are now sizing our organisation based upon the current scale of our business and conservative predictions of how we expect to grow in the future.

– Dan Clancy, Twitch CEO

Amazon acquired Twitch back in 2014 for nearly US$1 billion as it looked for a way to take part in video gaming’s growth as an online spectator sport. However, the live-streaming platform has failed to turn profitable since its acquisition.

Last month, Clancy announced that Twitch would be shutting down its South Korea operations in February due to high operating costs and network fees. Twitch also previously laid off more than 400 employees in March 2023, just after its longtime CEO Emmett Shear departed the company after 16 years.

Meanwhile, Amazon laid off more than 27,000 employees in 2023, including its Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios employees. The e-commerce giant is far from alone, though — as part of a wave of global tech layoffs, Meta and Microsoft each laid off 10,000 workers last year, while Google cut its workforce by about 12,000 employees.

Featured Image Credit: TechCrunch

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