Amazon restructures secretive R&D Lab126 where Fire phone was developed

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been quietly reshuffling its Silicon Valley-based R&D group, called Lab126. According to FastCompany, which cited multiple unnamed sources, the changes at Lab126, which developed Amazon's high-profile hardware products like the Fire phone and the Kindle tablet, were long overdue because the organization had become inefficient. The report noted the changes were not due to the poor performance of the Fire phone.

Over the past five years, Lab126, which was initially conceived as a small subsidiary of Amazon, has grown to nearly 3,000 employees. According to sources, the recent departure of Malachy Moynihan, Lab126's vice president of digital products, and the sabbatical of Ian Freed, Amazon's VP of device, helped prompt the changes.

Lab126 President Gregg Zehr has now named two executives to head roles--David Foster, who will handle new product innovation, and Lindo St. Angel, who will handle the release and shipping of new iterations of existing products. In addition, Lab126 will receive additional investment from Amazon. And, according to FastCompany, Amazon will increase headcount to 3,757 by 2019.

The reshuffling at Lab126 is notable because late last year VentureBeat reported that Amazon is developing a sequel to the Fire that will debut in 2016. The report, citing unnamed sources close to the matter, said Amazon has been working on the new phone for months, but the team working on the phone has "gone back to the drawing board" in the wake of the weak sales of the initial phone, one source said.

For more:
- see this FastCompany article

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