After years of driving the economy, Big Tech has suddenly hit a rough road. By now you’ve likely heard about layoffs in tech…lots and lots of layoffs. According to Layoffs.fyi, as of this writing, more than 104,000 tech jobs have been lost in just the first six weeks of 2023. But what is behind the struggles of these Big Tech players?
Tech Takes a Turn…Downward
After several years of dizzying growth, the technology sector is now experiencing a notable downturn, as the post-COVID era has brought a combination of higher prices (inflation) and lower demand. In response, 2022 saw significant job cuts at major Big Tech brands that have continued on into 2023. That includes this Wednesday when Microsoft announced it was cutting 10,000 jobs – after a 1,000 job cut in October 2022 – another big blow to Tech.
But what about the more specific segments like consumer electronics and custom integration?
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Amazon Alexa and Devices Division On Pace to Lose $10B; Div. in Crisis Mode
This has to rank up there with one of the most spectacular product failures in tech history. According to leaked documents acquired by Insider, Amazon’s “Worldwide Digital” unit – the unit that includes Echo smart speakers, Alexa voice technology, and Prime Video streaming – lost over $3 billion in just the first quarter of this year. It is on pace to lose $10 billion for the year and the company has announced its largest layoffs ever – cutting more than 10,000 jobs…many targeted to hit this division specifically…as Amazon reorients their business strategy.
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Teardown Analysis Shows Amazon is Cheapening Its Base Echo Model
In a new and interesting teardown analysis that included a cost of production comparison between the previous and the newest version of Amazon’s Echo, it appears that the company is making dramatic changes to lower the cost of their basic Echo model. Even though cost has been cut by more than half, the report says that the company still often sells it at a loss.
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Tech Takes a Trillion-Dollar Thumping
We’re ‘…Experiencing a Seismic Shift’ Says Uber CEO
More and more evidence continues to emerge suggesting that the economy is undergoing a fundamental shift, a turn if you will, that will at least slow economic growth – and may lead to recession. Perhaps the clearest indicator of that is the turn taken by tech, which has lost a trillion dollars in value in just three days of trading on the stock market. For the last two-plus years, tech was the driving force behind a dramatic economic expansion during the pandemic. What is happening now?
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Amazon Retreats: Will Close 68 Brick & Mortar Stores in U.S. and U.K.
Company Exiting Bookstores, 4-Star Stores, and Pop-Up Stores
Yesterday Amazon announced it will close all of its non-grocery bricks and mortar locations, ending its foray into physical store locations. The company had previously entered the physical bookstore business – a business that many feel its online business destroyed – as well as pop-up stores and its 4-star shops that carried a selection of its best-selling online products. However, the company will keep its grocery stores and a department store concept.
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Leaked Internal Amazon Docs Show Users Quickly Tire of Smart Speakers
End of the Smart Speaker Era?
Amazon is widely credited with having created the entire smart speaker category with their Alexa voice-controlled Echo smart speaker and other products. The company has sold millions of them since their introduction in 2015, especially at often insane sale prices during the holiday selling season. But Bloomberg Businessweek has come into possession of leaked internal Amazon documents that paint a portrait of a category that appears to be in serious trouble, principally because it fails – often miserably – to retain consumer interest.
And, the documents show, not only do consumers lose their interest…they lose it quickly.
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Goliath Has Fallen; Sonos Prevails Over Google in ITC Patent Action
But Did Google Ultimately Outsmart Them?
I don’t think it’s possible for me to overstate the significance of what just happened last week when, in a final decision from the U.S. International Trade Commission, the full panel affirmed a commission judge’s ruling that Google had in fact infringed on five patents held by Sonos. It is a real-life version of the bible story of David versus Goliath. Make no mistake, this David’s win may change our industry in fundamental ways.
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Amazon Founder Bezos No Longer the World’s Richest; You Should Be Concerned
Last Friday, Amazon founder and now former CEO Jeff Bezos woke up the richest man in the world. He has been the richest man in the world for quite some time now. Yet when he went to bed Friday evening, he was no longer. And the reason that’s so should serve as a warning to you and all of us in the tech biz in 2021.
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How Big is Amazon in E-Commerce? Bigger Than You May Realize
In new data from market researcher eMarketer, we learn more details on just how well e-commerce sales are doing both overall and for specific players such as Target and Amazon. It is pretty well known that as the pandemic rolled out in early Spring of 2020, Americans were thrust into quarantine and a 24/7/365 existence at home. This caused many to order their supplies from online retailers, even those consumers who had not previously ever purchased online before. Clearly, COVID was horrible for America (and the world) but good for the e-commerce business.
All online retailers did well, with companies like Walmart and Target seeing their e-commerce operations really gain some traction. But did some do better than others? Oh yeah…