- Amazon is shuttering a virtual-travel division and a warehouse-robotics team.
- Those teams, called Explore and ORCA, join a growing list of projects Amazon has recently nixed.
- In a recent all-hands meeting, executives said to “double down on frugality” amid slowing growth.
Amazon is shutting down two more divisions in the latest sign of budget-trimming from the e-commerce giant, which this week told employees they needed to “double down on frugality” in the face of rising costs and an uncertain economic climate.
Amazon is scrapping another warehouse-robotics team, ORCA, amid a larger reduction in robotics personnel. It’s not clear how many people worked on the ORCA team. In addition, the company is ending Amazon Explore, a amazon-explore-virtual-travel-review” data-analytics-module=”body_link”>virtual-travel-experiences platform launched amid coronavirus-related restrictions in late 2020. The division has roughly 100 employees, according to a person familiar with the team.
Amazon had previously scaled back its investment in its Scout home-delivery robot and shuttered the Canvas warehouse-robotics group, which the company acquired for over $100 million in 2019.
Some of the employees on the affected teams will be offered assistance to move to other parts of the company, a representative said.
“At Amazon we think big, experiment, and invest in new ideas to delight customers,” an Amazon representative, Brad Glasser, said in a statement. “We also continually evaluate the progress and potential of our products and services to deliver customer value, and we regularly make adjustments based on those assessments.”
Amazon has scaled back in numerous divisions of late. Amazon downsized its internal moon-shots lab Grand Challenge. It discontinued Glow, a video-calling device for kids. It also implemented a broader hiring freeze in its retail business while slow-walking warehouse expansion plans.
But the company is simultaneously spending big to acquire established companies in some of those same business areas where it’s rolling back its own ambitions.
Amazon’s slashes to its robotics department come after the company announced plans to acquire iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion. And earlier this year, Amazon sunsetted its healthcare venture, Amazon Care, after announcing plans to buy the One Medical chain of clinics for $3.9 billion.
In an all-hands meeting this week, Amazon executives instructed employees to tighten their belts. Employees were told they needed to “accomplish more with less,” including by adjusting hiring and reducing costs and inventory levels, according to leaked slides from an all-hands presentation obtained by Insider.
“We’re going to be more streamlined in how we expand in 2023,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said at that meeting.
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