Amazon has deleted prominent celebrity voices from Alexa, including Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Melissa McCarthy. The previously available for purchase voices will no longer be supported on Alexa devices.
The voices, which were first priced at $0.99 but eventually increased to $4.99, added an interesting touch to the Alexa experience. By just saying “Hey [celebrity name],” customers may interact with their favorite celebrity character and enjoy jokes, anecdotes, and responses to inquiries in the style of Jackson, Shaq, or McCarthy.
Amazon spokesperson Eric Sveum confirmed that celebrity voices on Amazon’s Alexa will be discontinued after three years. Users can still use these voices for a limited time and can request a refund from customer service. Samuel L. Jackson’s voice will be available until June 7th, while McCarthy and Shaq’s voices will be supported until September 30th.
The reasons for this decision are not explicitly stated, but it may be part of Amazon’s plan to enhance Alexa’s capabilities using its own Large Language Model. Cost-cutting efforts, including layoffs affecting the Alexa and Echo product division, and rising licensing costs could also be contributing factors.
Regardless, users who have already purchased the feature can request refunds by reaching out to Amazon’s customer service.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheVerge.