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Amazon axes Halo gear as job cuts hit cloud segment

'It is a tough day across our organization,' says memo from AWS boss

Amazon is in cost-cutting mode in both its retail and cloud arm, with layoff memos surfacing in HR and AWS, and the company ditching Halo fitness gear as the Book Depository subsidiary closes its covers for good.

The layoffs are part of 18,000 jobs cuts that Amazon confirmed in January, which together with the 9,000 redundancies confirmed in March, will mean altogether 27,000 roles have been eliminated in months – 7.5 percent of the megacorp's workforce.

"It is a tough day across our organization," Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky reportedly wrote in the memo announcing that some cloud and HR staffers would lose their jobs.

Implying the business was reversing an unsustainable increase in headcount made during the pandemic, Selipsky added: "Given this rapid growth, as well as the overall business and macroeconomic climate, it is critical that we focus on identifying and putting our resources behind our top priorities — those things that matter most to customers and that will move the needle for our business.

"In many cases this means team members are shifting the projects, initiatives or teams on which they work; however, in other cases it has resulted in these role eliminations."

Meanwhile, retail staffers at Amazon said today it would stop supporting Halo devices and the Halo app on July 31, promising to refund anyone who bought the kit to check their health, fitness and sleep patterns within the past year.


Lockdown walks are history, too

"For employees who are impacted by this decision, we are providing packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support," Amazon added.

As for Gloucestershire-based Book Depository, which was bought by Amazon in 2011, customers were able to place orders until noon UK time yesterday (April 26). The company said it would continue to provide support to customers with their orders until June 23, adding: "From all of us at Book Depository we want to say 'thank you.' Delivering your favourite reads to you since 2007 has been a pleasure."

Book Depository famously offered free delivery to 100 countries with no minimum spend and would bring out-of-print titles back to life under its Dodo Press imprint. It's not known how many roles were affected by its closure.

The bookseller's shuttering comes as Amazon continues to making drastic cuts to its workforce and devices and books units to reduce costs, as Amazon CEO Andy Jassy promised in the January 5 memo, when he noted the company would be tightening its belt in response to a slowdown in consumer spending.

The retailer also closed the doors on respected photography community website DPReview last month as profits faltered and growth slowed post-pandemic.

Shares were up 2 percent this morning, though one couldn't say if this is the effect of the job cuts, the retail sector cuts, or both. Amazon will report its results for first quarter 2023 tonight.

We have asked Amazon for comment. ®

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