Gadgets

An Amazon Kindle Fire and an iPod tablet. / Photo by: Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz via Wikimedia Commons

 

Amazon said will no longer offer Mayday video calling customer support for Fire tablets after June 2018. The announcement signals the end of a service that the company claimed will revolutionize on-device tech support five years after it was personally launched by CEO Jeff Bezos in late 2013, according to Todd Bishop, reporting for GeekWire. 

Fire tablet users use the Mayday service to initiate a video chat with an Amazon customer support representative who cannot see the users for privacy reasons. Live video chat was a radical innovation from automated support but proved costly for Amazon. Moreover, Mayday was made obsolete by Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant which can provide customer support by using Echo speakers and other gadgets. Alexa is also available on Fire tablets. 

Several months after rolling out Mayday, Amazon declared that it was able to reduce the response time for a Mayday request from 15 to 9 seconds. Before the service turned a year old, the online giant proclaimed that three-fourths of Fire HDX tablet users were using Mayday for tech support and asking advice on how to play Angry Birds.  

Fire Tablet uses can still call, send an email or have a live chat with an Amazon representative who can still use the Mayday screen sharing feature in resolving customer issues. 

The end of the Mayday service has not reportedly struck a raw nerve in Amazon, whose CEO has been vocal about the need to make big risks and accept losses. Bezos has maintained that it is bad for Amazon in the long term if it is unable to make bigger and bigger failures. He believes such failures will protect Amazon from risky ventures other companies make before they go out of business.