Amazon has decided to discontinue the availability of celebrity voices for Alexa, even for those who have made a payment for them

Discontinue the availability of celebrity voices for Alexa

Amazon has discontinued its celebrity voices for Alexa, including the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Melissa McCarthy. These voices are no longer available for purchase, and Amazon will no longer support them on Alexa devices. The voices were initially priced at $0.99 and later increased to $4.99, but users expected to have access for a longer period. The feature allowed users to interact with Alexa using celebrity-specific commands and enjoy responses, jokes, and stories in the style of Jackson, Shaq, or McCarthy. However, the voice of Samuel L. Jackson has already ceased functioning on customers’ devices.

On Jackson’s page, a note states that his Alexa voice is no longer available for purchase, but those who previously purchased it can continue using it until April 2023 by saying “Hey Samuel.” Similar messages were posted on the pages for McCarthy and Shaq’s voices, with support scheduled to continue until September 30th of the current year. The reason behind Amazon’s decision to discontinue the feature is not explicitly stated, but it may be related to the company’s broader Alexa-related challenges. In recent years, Amazon’s Alexa sector has incurred significant operating losses, leading to scrutiny from CEO Andy Jassy. The company has also undergone layoffs, including employees working in the division responsible for Alexa and Echo products.

There are speculations that Amazon might be reworking Alexa in response to the emergence of conversational AI models like ChatGPT. There are plans to make Alexa more proactive and conversational, possibly utilizing Amazon’s own large language model. It is unclear whether the celebrity voices do not align with this vision or if licensing costs have become prohibitive.