Amazon is facing internal conflict as it works on a paid version of Alexa

Amazon Echo Alexa speaker stock photo (1)

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

TL;DR

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  • Amazon is working on a paid, enhanced version of Alexa called “Alexa Plus.”
  • Amazon is reportedly not happy with the performance of Alexa Plus.
  • The development of the subscription service has created internal politics, some even questioning the premise of charging for Alexa.

Last year, Amazon announced it would use AI to make Alexa more conversational when answering commands. Amazon reportedly plans to make the new and improved Alexa a subscription-based service. But it’s said that development has been rocky and has the company fighting with itself.

Amazon is currently working on an upgraded version of Alexa that uses a new large language model (LLM) to make the voice assistant more conversational and personal. This revamped Alexa will launch as a paid subscription and will be called “Alexa Plus,” according to a report from Business Insider.

Internally dubbed “Remarkable Alexa,” the company plans to release the subscription service on June 30 and has been testing the technology with 15,000 external customers. The current version of Alexa is reportedly referred to internally as Classic Alexa.

Although the launch date is not far off, the outlet’s sources say Alexa Plus is not meeting up to expectations. According to the tests, Amazon found that the voice assistant was more conversational and personalized, but it would also deflect or give incorrect answers.

The report says that one way Amazon is addressing the issue is by completely revamping Alexa’s technology stack. However, this has led to internal conflict with the Classic Alexa team, who want to protect their work. At the same time, protecting that work is causing the technology stack to become bloated.

According to one of the outlet’s sources, it appears some employees are even questioning the premise of charging for Alexa. These people are reportedly wondering if customers would be willing to pay for a newer version of Alexa when they are already paying for other Amazon services.

Given the issues Amazon is currently dealing with, it’s possible that Alexa Plus could end up being delayed. A person close to the matter told the publication, “If this fails to get revenue, Alexa is in trouble.”

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