Amazon is cutting hundreds of corporate jobs, according to a new report

In a rare move for the online retail giant, Amazon is laying off hundreds of corporate workers in its Seattle headquarters and elsewhere, according to a Seattle Times report.

The corporate cuts come after an eight-year hiring spree, taking the company from 5,000 in 2010 to 40,000 in its Seattle headquarters and gobbling up several retail businesses throughout the country.

However, according to the report, Amazon’s rising employee numbers over the last two years left some departments over budget and with too many staff on hand. In the last few months, the company implemented hiring freezes to stem the flow of new workers, cutting the number of open positions in half from the 3,500 listed last Summer.

The layoffs will mainly focus on Amazon’s Seattle office, but there have already been cuts in some of its retail subsidiaries in other parts of the country, such as the Las Vegas-based online footwear retailer Zappos, which had to lay off 30 people recently. And the company behind, Quidsi, had to cut more than 250 jobs a year ago.

The moves suggest Amazon may be trying to rein in spending and consolidate some of its retail businesses.

It’s important to note that cutting out a few hundred workers at a company with tens of thousands of employees is not unusual — and is pretty small in comparison to other established tech giants that have had to lay off far more recently. For instance, Microsoft had to lay off thousands of employees starting late last year — though most of those employees affected were outside of the United States.

The cuts also don’t indicate Amazon, which employs more than half a million people globally, has any intentions of cutting more or of slowing down its hiring practices elsewhere. According to its most recent quarterly earnings report, the company has upped its global workforce by 66 percent over the last year. Amazon currently has more than 4,000 job listings on its site for Seattle.

We have yet to hear back from Amazon about the latest report, but a spokesperson for the company told The Seattle Times the move was part of the company’s annual planning process and that, “We are making head count adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others.”

According to the report, several employees have already been told they’ve been laid off and those layoffs are expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

“For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring,” the spokesperson said.

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Amazon reports nearly $2 billion in profit, blowing past Wall Street expectations for holiday quarter

Amazon reported quarterly financials after the bell Thursday for its fourth quarter, the all-important holiday season for the e-commerce giant. And its numbers had some people doing a double take, after earnings per share came in at $3.75, more than double the $1.85 that analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance were estimating. 

Net income was $1.9 billion for the quarter. For the full 2017 year, it was $3 billion. This was partly due to a tax cut that benefited Amazon to the tune of $789 million.

It’s a far cry from the days when Amazon was unprofitable. For years, Amazon was able to get away with convincing investors that they should bet on its future growth.

Net sales grew to a massive $60.5 billion, up 38% from the prior year. Analysts had been expecting $59.83 billion.

Amazon Web Services, the cloud services business, accounted for $5.1 billion in revenue for the quarter. This is up from $3.5 billion in same timeframe the previous year.

The stock ticked up 3% in initial after-hours trading.

“Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them. We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement.

The company also touted the success of its Prime membership, saying that the service accounted for 5 billion items shipped last year.

Amazon has a market cap of $677 billion and recently reached record highs.

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Alexa has literally lost her voice as users report outages and unresponsiveness

Amazon . com&rsquos Alexa smart assistant appears to become lower today. We&rsquove been hearing reports during the last hour of either delayed responses or simply total lack of connection.

While Amazon . com doesn&rsquot possess a status page because of its consumer products, Down Detector is reporting a huge spike in Alexa-related complaints during the last hour.

For instance,&nbspAlexa is giving me replies like &ldquoI&rsquom unsure what went wrong&rdquo, &ldquosorry, something went wrong&rdquo, or perhaps a loud chime adopted by &ldquosorry, your echo us dot lost its connection&rdquo and also the red ring of sadness.&nbspThe problem seems to become associated with Alexa&rsquos voice recognition servers, because it&rsquos occurring across both native devices as an Echo and third party devices running Alexa such as the Sonos One.

Some Alexa services still work should you access them with the Alexa application. To have an ultimate illustration of first world problems, I couldn&rsquot switch on my lights today with Alexa, however i was eventually in a position to by hand toggle them off and on using the Alexa iPhone application (because there wasn’t any was I had been really walking to them and bending lower towards the floor switch).

Hopefully Alexa feels better soon &ndash plus, it&rsquos difficult to miss the irony here &ndash thinking about Amazon . com just ran an excellent Bowl advertising campaign a couple of days ago where Alexa &ldquolost her voice&rdquo.

We&rsquove arrived at to Amazon . com and can update this whenever we have more information.

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Front-door tech is hot, and its not just Amazon who wants in

The majority of us have a tendency to think people attempting to open the doorway whenever we&rsquore away wish to steal stuff. Amazon . want to change that assumption.

The e-commerce giant paid out a reported $1.1 billion now to get&nbspRing, a developer of Wi-Fi-connected door bells. The move follows the rollout this past year of Amazon . com Key, a good lock and camera system for in-home deliveries to customers who don&rsquot want packages sitting outdoors.

But Amazon . com&rsquos only some of the one placing quality value on front-door tech. In age on-demand delivery, providers have lengthy seen the normal low-tech door being an impediment to expansion. Smart-lock developers and residential security companies also provide been putting sources in to the space, alongside numerous venture investors.

Once we&nbspreported a few months ago&nbspin an introduction to smart-lock and building access investments, the way in which people open the leading door hasn&rsquot altered much inside a century. The majority of us get in by turning a set metal key right into a lock. Visitors ring old-fashioned door bells. There&rsquos generally no digital record of who came or why.

There&rsquos lots of money entering altering that established order. Since this past year, venture investors have put greater than $200 million into a variety of companies with companies and technologies associated with keys, locks and building access. Up to now, individuals companies convey more than $500 million, based on an analysis of&nbspCrunchbase funding data.

Ring, which elevated $200 million in venture funding, is among two heavily funded companies to become acquired in recent several weeks. In October,&nbspAugust Home, a good-lock developer which had elevated greater than $70 million in venture funding, offered to&nbspASSA ABLOY Group, the biggest global supplier of door opening products, to have an undisclosed sum.

There&rsquos valid reason to consider the up cycle for smart locks and entry systems has further to visit. For just one, to some degree, lock and building access-related investments are extra time from the connected home space, and growing adoption of connected home systems supplies a major access point for key and door tech.

Many legitimate companies would also like an simpler method of getting with the door. In the end, delivering items to customers&rsquo doorways, either indoors or out, constitutes a business having a collective valuation within the trillions of dollars. Amazon . alone is worth greater than $700 billion.

Furthermore, anecdotally, it will appear urban humans over recent decades are trending toward greater idleness. More and more, people want their laundry, meal kits, produce, shaving supplies and pet treats sent to their doorways. Just like we accustomed to consider visiting the store like a discomfort, we’ll soon consider walking outdoors to get a bundle because the height of inconvenience.

Individuals trends may not be ideal for the condition of humanity. But they’re bullish indicators for that smart lock industry.

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Amazon is buying smart doorbell maker Ring

With Nest’s first smart video doorbell right around the corner, Amazon is busy buying up the competition.

After acquiring Blink just two months ago, Amazon is now acquiring Ring, makers of the self-titled Ring doorbell (plus a bunch of other security gear, like solar security cameras, floodlight cams and an in-home alarm system).

GeekWire broke the rumor this afternoon, and we’ve just received independent confirmation.

Details on the deal are still pretty light; the financial terms of the deal, for example, haven’t trickled out just yet. Update: Reuters is reporting, via tweet, that the sale price was more than $1 billion. The company had raised around $209 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

This acquisition makes plenty of sense. Amazon has already built a few connected cameras of its own — but hardware is, as they say, hard, and that’s not going to change. With nearly a dozen solid products to its name, the Ring team has proven themselves more than capable of building hardware (and I’m sure its array of patents doesn’t hurt, either.) With Amazon, Google, Apple et al. all duking it out for physical space in and around your home, someone was going to make a big offer — and I’d be surprised if Amazon was the only bidder in the mix. Plus, who on earth is responsible for more doorbell presses than Amazon?

(Fun bit of trivia: Ring debuted to the world on Shark Tank back in 2013, then known as “DoorBot.” They wanted $700,000 for 10 percent of the company, but no one took the deal.)

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