Guess who is winning the latest technology war? It doesn’t matter. The answer is “every company that is not Apple.” Only Apple is the loser when compared to imaginary wars being fought on the battlefield of the mind.
A good example of a war that nobody wins is the talking personal assistant speaker war. Say what? Yeah, you know. Amazon Echo and Alexa. Google Home and Assistant. Samsung and the Bixby voice. Apple’s Siri and HomePod. Who is winning?
Nobody. Not Amazon. Not Google. Not Apple. Definitely not Samsung. Oh, toss Microsoft and Cortana onto the pile of losers. Hey, if you’re not winning then you must be a loser, right? OK, can you name the most popular of the talking personal assistants?
Uh huh. That Siri. Apple has Siri running on nearly 1.5-billion devices– far more than Google’s smarter Assistant, and vastly more than Amazon, yet Bob O’Donnell offers perspective, insight, and analysis, on the voice assistant war, and doesn’t know who Siri is. What’s with that?
The Voice Assistant War: What If Nobody Wins?
Indeed. Nobody is winning (except Apple). There is no clear market leader, and their so-called smarts are not all that smart anyway (Siri is smarter than Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Samsung’s Bixby, and almost as smart as Google Assistant).
Prominently on display last week in Las Vegas at CES 2019, was the rise of the embedded voice assistant. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant were omnipresent at the show, thanks to their extremely wide range of partners and, in Google’s case, their enormous outdoor booth.
A big trade show booth does not a market leader make.
Amazon is generally seen as winning the war so far, but Google has been coming on strong, plus Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are too big to ignore, especially given how young this market still is.
Infancy is for infants. And the infantile talking speaker personal assistants. Why is Amazon the leader? Apple has nearly 1.5-billion devices running Siri. Compare that to a few dozen million running Amazon (television commercials don’t count).
While some people may be perfectly comfortable working across multiple voice assistants, and actually remembering which ones are enabled on which devices, most people are likely to get quickly confused in such a scenario. In fact, it could be frustrating enough that people stop using the voice assistant capabilities entirely.
Bingo. In fact, it may be so frustrating that people don’t bother to start using a voice assistant in the first place. They are, after all, rather stupid.
Oh, speaking of stupid, there’s this:
As we’ve seen in plenty of other device platform battles, it’s very difficult to get people to stick with a single ecosystem.
Looking around I sense there are multiple ecosystems– Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone and iOS, or put another way, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, et al, and people seem to stick to the one they prefer the most and don’t move frequently between them.
We live in a very heterogenous device world and that heterogeneity is likely to spread over to the world of voice assistants as well
Maybe people will decide simply to not use the talking speaker personal assistant on whatever devices they own, regardless of platform. Yes, there are battles and wars going on between various technology companies, but who is winning?